Time is short. The stakes are high. Political positioning is important.
What is likely to be—what must be–a short special legislative session begins at 4 this afternoon. Lawmakers will be asked by Governor Nixon to lift some caps on four incentive programs intended to hook lunker industrial fish.
But is that enough? Nixon must think so or he wouldn’t be moving so quickly with this plan. There undoubtedly are other factors–he’s told us he has already met with the heads of five community colleges to put together training programs for the airline-building workers. And he says the Missouri machinists unions aren’t like the machinists in the state of Washington who refused to accept concessions that would have let Boeing build its new plane there.
He might have other arrows in his quiver that he’s not talking about nd he says Boeing executives at the highest levels have encouraged Missouri to present a package to them right away.
But before the new airliner can take off, Missouri has to land it.
If Boeing decides to build the plane here, or even if it decides some major components for it will be built here, Missouri wins.
But if Missouri loses despite this flurry of action by the Governor, the Repblican-dominated legislature will feel emboldened to claim Missouri lost because the Governor and his fellow Democrats don’t want to let the GOP make Missouri a right-to-work state and don’t want the state to slash business taxes.
Speaker Tim Jones has told our Mike Lear he doesn’t want his majority members trying to introduce other issues beyond the ones the Governor wants enacted this week. They’d likely be ruled out of order anyway because they would exceed the limited call of the special session. But if Boeing goes elsewhere, we’ll no doubt hear arguments that Missouri might have gotten that plant if those things could have been added to the special session legislation.
Jones knows that Boeing wants to know what Missouri is offering by week from tomorrow. Offering tax cuts and right-to-work would undoubtedly snarl the special session’s process and kill Missouri’s chances because Nixon would doubtless veto the bill and in the process gain valuable ammunition for the 2014 legislative campaigns by claiming Republicans cost Missouri its chance to get Boeing’s thousands of jobs by plugging politics into an economic development bill. If Boeing comes here on the basis of the things Nixon wants lawmakers to do this week, he can argue that it’s clear from Ford, GM, and now from Boeing, that Missouri doesn’t need big business tax cuts and right-to-work to draw major manufacturing jobs to the state.
We’ll be in the House and Senate for the next few days as lawmakers rush to give the Governor what he asks for. Before the legislature returns in another month or so, we’ll know if this will be enough.
Time is short. The stakes are high.
Let’s not overlook the fact that boeing knows how to play one state against another.