The Boeing Expansion

The House returned from our two-week Easter furlough to exciting news this week that Boeing plans to greatly expand its presence in North Charleston.

The success of Michelin, BMW, and now Boeing has proven that our state has the best workers in the world and a government willing to work in a bi-partisan manner to support new business. Republicans have fought tirelessly to improve South Carolina’s business climate as we compete against the world for jobs. Our efforts are being rewarded, and political leaders of both parties realize the job creation knows no party distinction. 

In 2009, Boeing announced it would bring some of its 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina from Washington State. Our state provided a generous incentive package to assist with the company’s startup costs in exchange for a promise of $750 million in investment and 3,800 jobs over 8 years.

In less than 4 years, Boeing has invested well over $1 billion and created 6,000 jobs. A classic case of under-promising and over-delivering. We hope the expansion announced this week will follow that formula.

This week, our colleagues in the Senate gave approval to a $120 million bond package to assist the company in a major expansion. In exchange, Boeing plans to hire 2,000 additional employees and invest another $1 billion at its facility in North Charleston. Boeing must meet its hiring and investment goals by 2020 or the state can recoup its investment.

This is another significant win for our state and its workers. As we saw with the massive BMW project in Greer back in the 1990s, the “multiplier effect” on jobs is incredible. A study conducted in 2008 showed that, at that time, BMW employed more than 5,000 workers at its factory, but supported more than 23,000 jobs statewide. Today, BMW suppliers are found in 41 of our state’s 46 counties.

We expect similar, or larger, numbers with Boeing. A preliminary cost/benefit analysis of the Boeing incentive package showed a positive benefit of 19-1 to our state.

Boeing will add workers to its North Charleston manufacturing facility and hire employees for a new operations center. In addition, Boeing plans to add more research and development and information technology jobs which will be the types of highly paid positions coveted in this economy.

Media reports this week said Boeing has orders for 840 Dreamliners, but the company did not announce plans to increase production in South Carolina from its goal of three jets a month.

There are some legitimate concerns about the use of government incentives for private business, but nobody should argue with incentives on a project this big for an industry that neither has “mom and pop” businesses in it nor has a presence in our state.  It is simply the only way to compete when other states – and countries all over the world – are doing the same thing.

All of the incentives in the world won’t make a company come to an area if they can’t attract quality employees.  Our people are our biggest asset.  You are our biggest asset. We know that and have been selling that to companies all over the world.

Comment are closed.