Last week, Shift reported on a bill proposed by freshman Democrat Rep. June Robinson that would rewrite the tax incentive law granted to Boeing. More than one year ago, the state Legislature moved quickly to extend a package of economic incentives to encourage the aerospace giant to stay in Washington State and complete the “final assembly of the new generation of the 777 and its carbon-fiber wings in Everett.”
Robinson is proposing to rewrite the law “in ways that would slice the tax break in half immediately and force Boeing to pay millions — maybe tens of millions — of dollars in additional taxes this year.” Under her bill, Boeing would key lose tax breaks if the in-state workforce falls below a certain level. Of course, the bill is the “handiwork of the unions representing machinists and aerospace engineers.”
Robinson’s bill has quite a lot of opponents, as could be expected. But, it appears, Snohomish County Executive John Lovick is not one of them. According to the Everett Herald, Lovick told lawmakers to “pass the bill and hold Boeing accountable” during a state House Finance Committee hearing last Friday.
Lovick’s testimony is puzzling because, when the Legislature contemplated extending the tax incentive package, he was Boeing’s biggest champion. The Everett Herald,
“For Lovick, this was a flip-flop of jumbo proportion, because back in November 2013, it was unlikely you’d find anyone in the county as enthusiastic as Lovick about extending the tax breaks to land the 777X.
“Lovick championed the cause of Boeing to House and Senate committees during a special session back then during which state lawmakers acted. He said the law would do great things for the county and state and he cited no concern with it.”
It’s unclear why Lovick changed his mind. It is, however, clear that Lovick has been attempting to shore-up favor with unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. In 2013, Lovick angered the Machinists by publically urging them to approve the new contracts Boeing offered. Reportedly, Lovick has “apologized to union leaders for what he’d done.”
Lovick’s flip-flop will impact his re-election campaign. He is likely to lose the support of Boeing and other prominent community leaders. He is also likely to gain an opponent.