Well, that was efficient.
By BARBARA SHELLY
The Kansas City Star
In just one week, the Missouri General Assembly managed to pass an economic development bill a feat that often eludes the legislature during its regular sessions.
That Boeing shopping expedition seemed to bring out the legislatures competitive streak.
The measure that the Senate passed earlier and the House overwhelmingly agreed to on Friday would provide about $1.7 billion over 23 years if Boeing would expand its facility near Lambert International Airport in St. Louis and move production of its 777X passenger jet here.
Thats only a fraction of the $9 billion worth of incentives the state of Washington has held out in a desperate effort to get Boeing to keep its facility there. But the machinists union in Puget Sound wouldnt agree to the concessions demanded by the worlds largest aircraft manufacturer.
Kansas City unions so far appear somewhat more eager to please. Construction workers have pledged to work around the clock, without overtime, to build a facility in record time.
St. Louis has some of the ingredients mentioned in a company document obtained by the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Boeing wants a 9,000-foot runway to launch the planes. Check. It needs easy access to a major highway and rail lines for parts deliveries. Check. It wants significant tax breaks. Big check.
But St. Louis does not have, and never will have, a seaport. And thats a key item on Boeings desired list.
I still suspect Boeings overtures to Missouri, Kansas and other states are all about wringing more inducements from the state of Washington. But it was refreshing to see the legislature stay focused and get something done.
So does this herald a new era of cooperation in Jefferson City?
Not a chance.
If anything, the Boeing saga has the potential to ramp up pressure from Republicans to make Missouri a right to work state, meaning workers would not have to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Some lawmakers have suggested the state would be more appealing to the airline maker if its unions were neutered.
Few things say gridlock like a full-out war over unions. But that might be an unfortunate byproduct of this weeks special session.