Alabama Prepared To Play Ball For Big Boeing Deal

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Boeing set a deadline for proposals from locales looking to build their 777x jetliner.

It's Tuesday.

There's a flurry of activity going on in Alabama, as leaders try to land the big deal.

We spoke with a variety of sources at all levels of government over the past few weeks.
Everyone's keeping details close to the vest.

It was difficult to even get officials on the phone Monday, because of the mad dash to get proposals finalized.

However, everyone spoken with says all the necessary parties are doing their part to make the most attractive offer possible. That goes from people in the mayor's office to people in the governor's office to the state legislature.

Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison) says the state legislature should support the efforts of Governor Robert Bentley, "Historically, the Alabama legislature has stepped up and been supportive of the governor for whatever we need to do to deliver on anything he may have in his package."

Boeing reportedly seeks quite a bit to move production of its new plane, and proposals have come in from all over the country.

If Alabama wants to build Boeing's big birds, it may have to pony up.

But members of the legislature believe they can bypass a lot of the usual grumblings, if they're asked to provide incentives.

Ball notes, "Partisan politics tends to stop when it comes to economic development, and everybody pretty well works together."

Still Alabama's legislature takes notoriously conservative stances that could get in the way of providing public incentive for a private business, but Representative Ball suggests pragmatism will rule the day, "We understand the competitive environment, and we'll be in there."

Meanwhile, it's easy for people to get caught up in comparing incentives when considering the Boeing deal.  However, Ball says that's not a particularly practical pursuit, "They try to add up the dollars of the various economic incentive packages, but there's a lot more to it than that."

He adds the state legislature has given Boeing plenty of reasons to move new production to Alabama - many of them created before the aerospace giant even asked for proposals, "Well, we have some things already in place.  During the last session we just passed a very forward thinking TIF bill that would allow companies who build to get a break on their future property tax to help reimburse them."

Boeing would definitely mark that as a plus when considering moving production to Huntsville, but it might not make a list of new incentives offered.

It's just an asset the state has for companies like Boeing.

It's worked before.

Ball points out, "You know, there's a reason that Airbus chose Mobile, the Mobile area, and it's obviously because of the business environment that we have here in Alabama."

He assures we're right in the hunt for this new jet, "I know that some of the places out West are downplaying our chances, but they don't know us very well."

They may know us a lot better real soon.


  • Michael Kewl

    Just like the Courtland paper mill…the company got all the tax breaks in their pocket and now the plant is gone…is the community really better off giving everything away to corporate America???

    • Jeff Kolby

      Giving everything away to corporate america….hummm
      How about doing away with the taxes that make the US one of the least attractive countries to manufacture in. Unless you are happy with the number of new jobs that have been created in the US over the past few years. How about we stop thinking in terms of giving incentives and think in terms of taking less away from companies who are trying to make a profit. In the end they will go where they can make the most profit while providing good paying job and a nice tax revenue for years to come for the city that has the most attractive offer.

      Unless we change our mentality we can continue to watch jobs move overseas.

      • Wake Up

        Jeff, you are mostly correct. The interesting thing is that what you described is pure socialism. By providing incentives the government is interfering with the free market. The yahoos on this discussion board that are fast to throw around the label socialism are being very silent on this issue. As I have said before, we are all socialist when it benefits what we like! Once again, I am proven correct!

  • And Smell the Roses

    Wake Up, read Jeff’s comment again and then look up the term socialism.

    “In the end they will go where they can make the most profit” – pure capitalism.

    • putter

      Facts never get in Wake Ups way, just another far left lib. like Martin Bashir, name calling, and trying to divide people.

    • Wake Up

      Smelly, when they go make profits from whatever location that offers them the most give always (incentives) it is no longer free-market capitalism. At that point it become government supported/influenced socialism.

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