Eyes on Missouri government after St. Louis County OKs $155M tax break to Boeing

(The Center Square) – After the St. Louis County Council approved $155 million in tax breaks for a $2 billion expansion planned by Boeing, eyes turned toward Jefferson City to see what subsidies the state will make.

“To even have a chance of getting this major expansion, the city and the county and the state had to make some economic concessions,” Democrat Councilwoman Lisa Clancy said before joining three members to vote for the tax break earlier this week. Democrat Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway cast the only vote against the plan.

“We thank the St. Louis County Council members for their decision, leadership and partnership in expanding the St. Louis region’s aerospace manufacturing industry footprint,” a Boeing spokesperson wrote in an email to The Center Square. “This vote will help us offer cost-competitive proposals, marking the first step toward bringing more high-paying jobs to the Greater St. Louis area. We look forward to continuing to work with our collaborating partners on the next steps of this project.”

Republican Gov. Mike Parson in August told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the state was in contact with Boeing.

“We’re going to see where that all ends up,” Parson said. “It’s pretty early.”

Boeing is planning to expand its manufacturing operations to better compete for U.S. Department of Defense contracts.

“To my understanding and as the Governor touched on, the state is always willing to consider incentive options for expansions at Boeing, our state’s largest manufacturing employer, but nothing has been agreed upon officially,” Johnathan Shiflett, the governor’s press secretary, wrote in an email to The Center Square.

Shiflett referred to the Missouri Department of Economic Development for possible additional information.

“The department does not comment on active projects,” Amy Berendzen, communications director for the Department of Economic Development, wrote in an email to The Center Square.

Two years ago, Boeing announced it would build a facility to manufacture a refueling drone for the Navy at MidAmerica Airport, a facility approximately 40 miles east of Boeing’s St. Louis operations. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced at the time $57 million in state investment and $8.7 million in tax breaks, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I think that it is these types of incentives that have turned this country and the world we live in into a game that is stacked against the working families that we’re trying to protect,” Dunaway said before casting her vote. “And I hear Boeing when they’re like, ‘We’ve invested in the community. We gave $13 million last year to charity.’ But that’s not even 10% of what they’re asking us to give them and it’s just not enough for me.”

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