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Boeing Gone; Who's to Blame?

pudge (3605) writes | more than 4 years ago

United States 8

Remember a couple of years ago, when a bunch of us ridiculed the notion that Forbes named Washington State in the top five best states for business?

Remember a couple of years ago, when a bunch of us ridiculed the notion that Forbes named Washington State in the top five best states for business?

Some of their criteria was laughable, and their analysis moreso. We knew what most businesses knew: that on the most important points to businesses (business costs and quality of life), Washington State failed. And on other factors like "regulatory climate" and "outlook" we incredibly scored well: to the former, Washington scored highly because we employ people to help guide businesses through the regulatory morass; but that doesn't diminish the fact that there are massive regulatory roadblocks in the first place; to the latter, well, our "outlook" -- which includes ever-increasing spending, even in the face of a recession -- is the reason why we're facing significant tax increases, if Gregoire and the Democrats get their way.

So, now, Boeing is leaving. Rep. Dan Kristiansen (R-39) probably has the best answer as to why, in a press release yesterday:

It's extremely disappointing that Boeing has chosen South Carolina over Washington, but not surprising at all. Boeing has been very critical of our state's difficult regulatory atmosphere. At the end of the day, it has to be able to compete successfully on an international scale, especially against Airbus. Instead of providing a level playing field, Washington has consistently put up barriers that make it difficult not only for Boeing to compete, but also for other employers throughout our state.

It's been no secret that other states have been courting Boeing for years. Boeing has tried to make it work here. However, it has gotten to a point with unemployment insurance issues, regulatory burdens, business and occupation taxes, and recently, the governor being willing to consider tax increases, that Washington is no longer a place where Boeing can be competitive.

In South Carolina, it took only days for Boeing to get the permits it needs to move forward with the second 787 plant. In Washington, it would take years. That's one of many examples in which our state has not been helpful and has stood in the way of the ability for Boeing to successfully compete here.

When Boeing decided several years ago to move its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, many of my House Republican colleagues and I warned that unless the Legislature was willing to make reforms to improve the state's business climate, we may see further departures. The governor and the majority party have been in denial about concerns of job providers and now our predictions are unfortunately coming true.

We must also remember this is not just about Boeing. Many other employers rely on Boeing and its workforce to support their companies. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Washington are indirectly related to Boeing and are affected. I've been very critical not only about how our state has treated Boeing, but all employers in Washington. Even when the Legislature made concessions to Boeing in 2003 to secure the Dreamliner in our state, I also said we should extend those tax relief benefits to all businesses. Unfortunately, very little has been done in the Legislature to make Washington attractive for business.

Today's announcement needs to be a wake-up call to our political leaders in Washington to create a more competitive business climate before we lose more employers to other states.

Rep. Mike Hope weighed in, too:

To call today's announcement by Boeing disappointing is a gross understatement. Governor Gregoire and the majority party in the Legislature ignored the warning signs, and the price of Washington's terrible business climate will be the loss of thousands of family jobs. At a time when unemployment is over 9 percent, this is a painful blow for Snohomish County and the entire state.

When Boeing's decision was on the line, the governor of South Carolina wasted no time in calling a special legislative session to adopt a package of upfront grants and tax breaks. I have to ask our governor, 'Why were you sitting on the sidelines? Why aren't we in session to demonstrate an equally strong commitment to keeping the aerospace industry vibrant and growing in Washington?

Governor Gregoire claims that this was a negotiation between the Union and Boeing. I strongly disagree. This was a negotiation between Boeing, the State of South Carolina, and the State of Washington -- and we lost. We lost because the business climate in our state needs immediate and dramatic improvement.

Consistently, my Republican colleagues and I have fought to address the most serious obstacles to making our state more competitive, starting with our enormously expensive workers' compensation system. But our efforts were ignored, and proposals to help employers and to create a more competitive business climate were rejected.

The governor said she thinks the company 'made the wrong decision.' On that point we agree, but she has also failed to be the leader we needed at one of the most critical times in our state's history.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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8 comments

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basis for your governor's statement? (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910891)

Did the union want to move to SC or something?

Re:basis for your governor's statement? (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911121)

The governor just doesn't want to admit that their laws were incompatible with Boeing's interests.

NPR says it's the unions (2, Informative)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920651)

According to straight-from-the-liberals-horse's-mouth NPR, the unions are what caused Boeing to throw up their hands. NPR's correspondent this morning noted that the union had been on strike four times in a very short period, and that, and I quote, "Boeing had enough".

Re:NPR says it's the unions (2, Informative)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920795)

That is true, but the state government has had a huge role in the union's actions, by helping to protect the union monopolies, by denying right-to-work, and more.

Re:NPR says it's the unions (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924495)

I'm guessing that if it wasn't painfully slow to expand in and expensive to operate within the state of WA, Boeing would have complained about unions -- but not move operations.

It's a huge expense to move. It sounds like WA was as bad or worse than CA -- and the unions were the "straw" that broke the aircraft's back.

Sorry for job loss, but voter's need to realize there are consequences for their vote. Losing jobs and businesses? Vote in people who are more friendly to businesses.

Re:NPR says it's the unions (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 4 years ago | (#29925439)

I would certainly be nice if this message could be communicated to Detroit. Those boneheads cannot figure out that being anti-business leads to high unemployment.

Re:NPR says it's the unions (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 4 years ago | (#29928635)

I can't think of too many (or any) examples of big cities turning back from the "nanny state" once they start down that path. This is as much an example of the "Galt effect" as anything else. Why stand around arguing with idiots if you have an easier recourse.

As the radical left knows though, the "solution" is for their way of thinking to become worldwide, just so there is no place to escape to.

Sadly, the American voters are making these false utopias almost inevitable by eliminating the states ability to distinguish themselves in any meaningful way. A one size fits all Federal government will also be a very much socialized government and there will be no way to assure a fair election, unless we want to take Jimmy Carter's word for it.

As a Boeing alumnus I'm glad to see them shake free of their shackles, but fearful the benefit will be only temporary. It's almost certain that the time will come when both unions and an oppressive government will burden them to the point where they have to be "bailed out" too.

Re:NPR says it's the unions (2, Informative)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#29929557)

I can't think of too many (or any) examples of big cities turning back from the "nanny state" once they start down that path. This is as much an example of the "Galt effect" as anything else. Why stand around arguing with idiots if you have an easier recourse.

As the radical left knows though, the "solution" is for their way of thinking to become worldwide, just so there is no place to escape to.

If nothing else, this is an error because it will certainly lead to bloodshed.

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