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Washington Lawmakers Eye Tying Boeing Tax Breaks to Jobs

May 10, 2017 
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Olympia, WA - Frustrated that Boeing has eliminated almost 13,000 jobs in the state after receiving a 40% tax cut in 2013, Washington legislators are considering two bills that would reduce the multibillion-dollar tax break.

One bill, sponsored by Democrat Noel Frame (D-Seattle), would eliminate half the tax cut if Boeing’s annual employment level in Washington falls below 70,000 jobs, and eliminate it completely if the level falls below 67,500. The other, sponsored by Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis), would end the tax break in 2024 if the company averaged less than 75,000 jobs a month over the next six and a half years. The tax breaks, which last until 2040, were enacted to encourage Boeing to build its new 777X airliner in Washington, but the company’s workforce in the state, more than 83,000 in 2013, fell below 71,000 in March after layoffs. “When Boeing violates the intent of the incentives extension to grow and maintain aerospace jobs, where is our recourse?” said Jason Chan, president of Machinists Local 751A said after a hearing on the bills May 2. “That’s why there needs to be tax incentive accountability.” In both bills, the company would keep the exemption if state agencies determine that the loss of jobs is due to a national economic downturn. Read more

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