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May
2016
4

Now We Know: Total Boeing Tax Breaks Cleared $300M in WA Without Hiring, Retention Requirements

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For the first time, the size of the aerospace tax incentive that went to Boeing in 2013 has been made public, revealing $305 million in state taxes that were waived last year.  The numbers come from a required filing with the state’s Department of Revenue.  

The Seattle Times was successful in overturning a ruling by state tax officials that the information be kept secret for the next decade.  The reason they wanted the filing private is because Boeing did not hold up their end of the bargain, instead shipping jobs elsewhere after receiving the massive gift.

Machinists union members insisted that the tax breaks, which currently last until the year 2040, be pegged to job creation and job retention in state.  In a statement, International Association of Machinists Local 751 President Jon Holden argued:

“As a state, we sent $305 million to Boeing headquarters in Chicago last year, and in return we lost 1,520 jobs.  You don’t need an MBA to figure out that’s a really bad return on our state’s investment of tax dollars. We’ve given Boeing the largest corporate tax incentives in U.S. history, but without any job requirements, all we’ve done is create incentives for Boeing to take away both our jobs and our tax dollars.”

Detractors hope the exposed numbers will make elected officials hesitant to enter into such agreements in the future.  Speaking to the Associated Press, State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, a tax transparency advocate, called the released information “incredibly valuable to the public.”  According to Sen. Carlyle:

“The public can now open the books and decide for themselves whether a tax break has a return on investment,” Carlyle said.

Boeing’s complete 2015 tax filing will be made public this week.

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