OLYMPIA… Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, today offered this response to the governor’s announcement Wednesday that highlighted a study characterizing Washington as the best place in the world to build airplanes:
“I’m pleased but not surprised that the study unveiled today supports my belief that our state offers many advantages for the aerospace industry, especially the quality of the workforce. And I take pride in knowing how Republicans in the Legislature, particularly in the Senate, have a long history of fighting for manufacturing jobs, and aerospace jobs specifically. We have a solid record of supporting policies that have kept Boeing and other aerospace jobs in our state and helped the industry to grow and prosper.
“Governor Inslee concluded today that Washington is way out in front when it comes to being the best place for Boeing to build its New Mid-Market Aircraft. I want to believe that also, but I also realize this is just one study, and I hope it doesn’t lead him or anyone else to overestimate our state’s competitive environment. Being overconfident could get in the way of making adjustments that affect the cost of doing business and would help convince Boeing to do what it has not yet done: commit to building its newest airplane in Washington.
“There is more to supporting aerospace than the workforce training programs the governor repeatedly mentioned. The cost of state-run workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance programs are historically factors that the aerospace industry considers in making major decisions. In fact, in the 2003 competition to capture the 787 production line, Boeing deemed reducing its unemployment insurance costs as one of the top factors in its selection process.
“Also, this new study emphasizes the value of low energy costs to aerospace, yet Governor Inslee is known for wanting Washington to impose the first energy tax of its kind in the nation. And it was something to hear him talk about our state’s ‘very favorable tax treatment’ of aerospace when he’s pushed more than once for not only a new energy tax but also a new state income tax.
“In addition, I remain concerned that the governor’s bad habit of promoting overzealous – and in some cases illegal – regulations will make it immensely more expensive and difficult for Boeing to do business in Washington.
“I and other Republicans in the Senate will look at the findings of this study, consider any bases it may not have covered, and see about how we might address the full range of issues that Boeing might take into account as it decides where to site the NMA effort. We must be continually striving to make Washington competitive for all jobs, but especially for aerospace. The moment we cease to be vigilant regarding our aerospace jobs is the moment we will lose them.”