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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Inslee Lobbies Lawmakers To Extend Tax Breaks For Boeing

File photo of a Boeing 777 jetliner.

Governor Jay Inslee says he can’t overstate the upside of Washington winning production of Boeing’s next generation 777 airliner.

The Democrat testified before a House panel Thursday in favor of extending until 2040 tax breaks the aerospace giant already receives. Inslee noted the proposed legislation contains a strict claw back clause.

“Specifically, we include a provision that says the company loses its preferential B&O tax rate, the largest of the tax incentives, on all 777X manufacturing if it were to move final assembly or wing construction work out of the state.”

Inslee says that clause should protect against what happened with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The company opened its second production line for that plane in South Carolina.

The governor called the special session to try to solidify Boeing’s decision to continue to build the 777 line in the state. Washington lawmakers plan to approve a 16-year extension of aerospace tax breaks and expand a tax exemption on construction of aerospace manufacturing facilities.

The package also includes funding for additional aerospace training.

House Deputy Democratic Leader Larry Springer says the size of the tax breaks alone is enough to give some lawmakers pause.

“Because," he says, "anytime there’s $8 billion in tax revenue on the table, people have to think long and hard about that.”

Time is short for contemplation. Legislative leaders want to pass the Boeing package by this weekend in order to influence the outcome of another vote: Boeing machinists will decide next week whether to accept a long-term contract with the company.

Boeing has said legislative action coupled with a “yes” vote from the machinists will solidify its decision to build the 777X and its composite wings in Washington.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."