Missouri is getting a lot of ink this week over the special session Gov. Jay Nixon has called to quickly pass an incentive package designed to draw in Boeing’s 777X production.
Interestingly, the state’s leading newspapers are editorializing against the rush to come up with an enticing offer.
Tuesday the St. Louis Post-Dispatch disparaged the governor’s approach as “legalized bribery”:
What makes the attempt to lure Boeing so disconcerting, even while understanding the potential positive impact of the high-paying manufacturing jobs, is the speed and secrecy that highlight the race to win this beauty contest. Supporters of the governor’s proposal to hand over potentially billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies say that if Missouri and St. Louis don’t do it, another state will, and that’s true. … There has to be a better way.
A day earlier, it was the Kansas City Star pouring cold water on the state’s hopes: “Missouri lawmakers should not wear themselves out dancing too hard to Boeing’s tune,” it suggested, later adding, “Boeing’s scouting expedition reveals a company with boundless demands and limited loyalties. Today’s lucky suitor could easily turn out to be tomorrow’s jilted castoff.”
The incentives proposed in Missouri — estimated to max out at $1.7 billion over some 20 years — pale, in sheer dollar terms, next to the $8.7 billion package of future tax breaks enacted here in Washington.
The Show Me state is also living up to its name with a stepping-stone feature in the package: the incentives get richer in four stages as employment grows from 2,000 workers to 8,000.