Washington state legislators gave Boeing the biggest tax break in U.S. history, and what did they get in return? Jobs transferred across state lines for a better deal.
Boeing has been making airplanes in the Seattle area for 99 years. The marriage seemed set for life in 2013, when the state of Washington gave the company the biggest tax break in U.S. history, $8.7 billion through 2040. But the relationship has hit some major turbulence.
Boeing has since moved more than 3,500 jobs to other states, with another 2,000 transfers in the works, triggering calls for retribution by state officials. The union engineers have been hit hardest by the job transfers.
Where did they go?
Jobs have been sent to South Carolina, California, Missouri and Oklahoma, which offered Boeing its own tax break. But Washington state Rep. June Robinson calls that double dipping. She has introduced a ‘claw-back’ bill that would cut Boeing’s Washington state tax break as long as employment numbers are below the 2013 level.
This goes to show that government at any level -no matter how hard they try- can’t pick winners and losers in the marketplace without unintended consequences. Washington state essentially gave Boeing a corporate handout with no strings attached, and expected implicit loyalty in return. Big mistake.