This week the General Assembly is in special session. The session is concerned with the construction of the new Boeing 777x commercial airliner. This plane has some innovative features moving aeronautics into the next generation. Boeing came to Missouri seeking a proposal to locate the manufacturing in our state.
Originally, Boeing had this project slated for Washington state. Some long-standing issues became a problem, however. As I understand the story, the state finally gave some concessions on taxes (the Washington tax structure is very different from that of Missouri), but the machinists union did not wish to provide a renegotiation. As a result, Boeing began to shop for a new home to build this next generation airliner.
Boeing Defense is located in the St. Louis area: Hazelwood, Florissant, and the surrounding area. Governor Nixon met with Boeing officials, and along with his staff, he has developed a plan that he believes will be competitive. The struggle for the legislature has been two-fold: the compressed timeframe that is required to meet Boeings schedule is hectic, to say the least, and after a summer of campaigning against an initiative to provide economic incentives to small businesses, the governor is all onboard with providing a large incentive package for a Fortune 500 company.
So why were we called to the capitol? In essence, the call is to increase the incentives already provided under existing economic development programs. These programs have caps, and the governor believes these amounts need to be raised in order for Missouri to be competitive.
Earlier this week, the senate passed out the bill that adheres to the governor's wishes. The vote was 24-8. All but two of the dissenting votes came from western or southern Missouri.
The bill is now in the House. Thursday brought meetings of the Economic Development Committee, which voted out the bill to the floor as Do Pass, and the Rules Committee which has sent it to the House Floor. Debate will begin tomorrow morning. Most likely the House vote will occur later in the day.
There are many associated factors to this proposal. We are in the process of receiving the list of suppliers in Missouri that sell to Boeing. I am interested to see how far these are spread across the state. Also, the commercial aircraft may serve as a steppingstone to the next defense-related manufacturing in the state.
Needless to say, this is a very complicated issue. Also, it is a very important issue for the state of Missouri. I hope this helps clarify some of the complexity of this special session. As always, please contact me with your thoughts.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at email@example.com. Thank you for working me to make Missouri a great place to live.