Gov. Nixon May Call Special Session to Attract Boeing
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon could announce on Friday that he will call state lawmakers back to Jefferson City to get Missouri ready to compete for a new aircraft manufacturing plant.
Nixon spoke Wednesday to Progress 64 West, a civic group in St. Louis County. In his prepared remarks, the Democratic governor said Missouri had a "historic opportunity" to convince Boeing it should build a plant to manufacture the 777x in St. Louis County.
The 777x is a new twin-aisle commercial plane and the company wants to begin production in 2017 and have the first models ready in 2020.
Boeing originally planned to build a new plant near Seattle, as the Chicago-based company was founded in Washington. Washington lawmakers passed legislation to create a nearly $9 billion incentive package for the company.
However, Boeing could not come to an agreement to build the 777x with its labor union, the International Association of Machinists, and now it is looking for another location to build the plane.
Nixon said winning production of the 777x would allow Missouri to enter commercial aircraft manufacturing in a "big way."
"It would create thousands of career-supporting jobs for Missouri workers, open new opportunities for suppliers in every corner of our state and build a bridge over the uncertain waters we see ahead -- to a brighter, more secure future for Missouri's entire aerospace industry, commercial and defense," Nixon said.
Several states are competing to lure Boeing and Nixon said Missouri would have to move forward in days, not weeks.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday afternoon that Nixon is expected to call a special legislative session on Friday, and reported the session could begin as soon as Monday.
The special session would be used to pass legislation to prepare a major state tax incentive package for Boeing. Boeing employs more than 15,000 people in the St. Louis area and is the second-largest employer in the region.
In 2010, Nixon called a special session to pass a $150 million tax incentive package for automakers.
Although some state lawmakers voiced support for the special session on social media, others questioned Nixon's most recent economic development push. Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Clay County, tweeted that Nixon could have signed House Bill 253 into law, which would have cut income taxes for many Missourians.
Anyone else note the irony that Gov Nixon vetoed a tax break for all & now may call us into Special Session to pass a tax break for one?
— Ryan Silvey (@RyanSilvey) November 27, 2013
Boeing wants to break ground on the plant in the coming months.