Boeing backlash as company gets tax break, moves jobs out of state

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

Loading

A new backlash surfaced Monday against Boeing after the state gave it the biggest tax break in U.S. history.

The unions representing Boeing engineers and machinists held a news conference criticizing Boeing for moving more than 3,000 jobs out of Washington since November 2013.

That's when state lawmakers approved $8.7 billion in aerospace tax breaks so Boeing would assemble the 777X in Washington.

The company is keeping its commitment to build the new plane here, but has shifted other jobs not included in the agreement.

State Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, proposes rolling back the tax breaks if Boeing reduces its total Washington workforce.

"If the jobs stay, Boeing maintains the tax breaks. It's simple math and it's fair," Robinson said.

Boeing would not do an interview with KIRO 7 but referred us to Linda Lanham of the Aerospace Futures Alliance, an industry lobbying group.

"I think we're kidding ourselves if we think they're never going to lay anybody off ever again," Lanham said.

She points to the much larger win for taxpayers, the 777X program that Boeing says will support 56,000 jobs.

"It's hard for me to understand why they would want to target an industry that's going gangbusters," Lanham said.

Brian Metz, a second-generation Boeing worker, is being laid off in April.

He said the company is moving his work to a contractor out of state.

"This was where I was supposed to finish up," Metz said. "I love this company, I have straight teeth and a decent education because of the Boeing company."

Instead, Metz said, "I'm going to be unemployed at the age of 56."

A Boeing spokesman wrote to KIRO 7 that since the state first passed aerospace incentives in 2003, the company has added 30,000 Washington jobs.

Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.