Charleston holds secret talks on more Boeing give-aways

Local officials in South Carolina are holding secret talks to negotiate even more corporate welfare for the Boeing Co.

The Charleston County Council is planning to exempt Boeing from paying property taxes on its new 787 final assembly building, in exchange for paying a fee. The county’s also planning to issue bonds to pay for site improvements. But when asked about the size of the fee and the bonds, Council members refused to let taxpayers know how much they’ll be subsidizing Boeing, The Post and Courier in Charleston reported.

“If I say too much, it becomes a problem,” Council member Elliott Summey told the paper.

South Carolina taxpayer advocates already have complained that the state’s governor and Legislature haven’t been forthcoming about the total size of the tax hand-out Boeing extorted from them in exchange for the second 787 manufacturing line. This is just ore of the same bad governance, the South Carolina Policy Council says.

“Because South Carolina taxpayers are the who ones who will be picking up the tab for Boeing’s incentives, it only seems fair that these same South Carolina taxpayers have some idea of what it is they’re being saddled with before the deal is inked,” the Policy Council said Wednesday. “Lawmakers, both at the state and local level, seem to feel differently.”

District 751 President Tom Wroblewski says it’s clear now that Boeing only pretended to hold talks with the Machinists Union toward a long-term contract in order to put pressure on South Carolina lawmakers to come up with an even-more lavish tax handout. The talks were “merely a ploy to extort more money out of South Carolina taxpayers,” he said.

And it worked. Based on what’s been disclosed so far, it seems that ‘”for the money we’re paying Boeing, we could come close to eliminating corporate taxes for all South Carolina businesses,” said Ashely Landess, the South Carolina Policy Council’s president. “That kind of economic stimulus benefits the entire state and has a real impact on unemployment.

“Boeing’s decision to expand in South Carolina is good news,” said Landess said.  “Unfortunately, South Carolina taxpayers will have to pay them to do it.”

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