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caption: FILE - In this March 27, 2019, file photo people work on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 assembly line during a brief media tour in Boeing's 737 assembly facility in Renton, Washington
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FILE - In this March 27, 2019, file photo people work on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 assembly line during a brief media tour in Boeing's 737 assembly facility in Renton, Washington
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

Inslee to Boeing: the next plane gets built in Washington or you lose

Strong words from Washington's governor to The Boeing Company Thursday. Jay Inslee says Boeing's next new airplane must be built in the state of Washington, or lawmakers could discontinue billions of dollars in tax incentives.

“When it comes time, and we hope that it will, for Boeing to make the next airplane, the mid-market airplane, and I hope that time will come, the Boeing company is going to need to realize that they have been given a very, very generous benefit and we expect that airplane to be built in the state of Washington,” he said.

“And they need to be aware of that," Inslee said. "And if they seek to maintain their favorable tax treatment we need to have that plane built in the state of Washington. And I hope they are aware of that."

Inslee made the remark at a preview of the legislative session that starts on Monday.

In recent decades the state has given up billions in future tax payments by Boeing in return for thousands of jobs on new and renewing production lines, such as the 787 and the 777x. Not all the economic benefits have materialized, however. And Boeing has proceeded with establishing a new airplane production center for 787s in South Carolina -- meaning that despite paying for all the jobs created by the 787 line, the state only received a portion.

It was Inslee who oversaw handing $8.7 billion in incentives to Boeing in exchange for the 777X production line.

"I wasn't happy being put in that position by a large employer," he observed, referring to it as "a threat."

"That was extremely frustrating to me."

Boeing has been discussing two new airplane programs. One would compete with Airbus and its wildly-successful A321 neo -- a "middle of the market" airplane. Another, farther off, would replace the 737 and succeed the final plane of that family -- the troubled 737 MAX. All plans are said to be on hold while the company works to end the grounding of the MAX.