Gov. Jay Nixon today called a special session of the General Assembly to pass legislation to help the state win production of Boeing's next-generation commercial aircraft, the 777X. The 2013 Special Session will convene at 4 p.m. on Monday, December 2. State responses to Boeing's Request for Proposal, received last week, are due by December 10 and legislative action is necessary in order for Missouri to put forward a competitive proposal.
"Building this next-generation commercial aircraft in Missouri would create thousands of jobs across our state and secure our position as a hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing - and that's why I am committed to competing for and winning this project," said Gov. Nixon. "In order to put forward a competitive proposal on this very aggressive timeline, decisive legislative action is required to add capacity to four of Missouri's existing economic development programs, which already include strict job creation and investment requirements, so that they can accommodate an aerospace project on this scale."
While the administration continues to work closely with its local partners on a final response to Boeing's RFP, the State's proposal will seek to address the company's critical needs in worker training, infrastructure development and job creation incentives. To put forward a competitive proposal in all these areas, the Governor has asked the General Assembly to pass legislation adding additional capacity of up to $150 million annually for large-scale aerospace projects under four of Missouri's existing economic development programs: Missouri Works, Missouri Works Training, Missouri BUILD, and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act.
"It's important to note that these are the same targeted, fiscally responsible programs that are available to any company creating significant numbers of high-paying, family-supporting jobs," said Gov. Nixon. "This legislation will simply give us added capacity to compete for this type of massive aerospace project, while maintaining existing accountability measures and ensuring a positive return for taxpayers. Aerospace companies like Boeing, will have to invest and create jobs in order to earn these benefits."
To meet the company's workforce needs, Gov. Nixon's administration is also engaging a consortium of area community colleges to train and certify thousands of additional graduates in aerospace and advanced manufacturing areas to grow a pipeline of highly-skilled workers for this project and others in this sector.
"Boeing has been very clear that the availability of a large, highly-skilled workforce is one of the key factors the company will use to determine where to produce its next generation of commercial aircraft," said Gov. Nixon. "Especially in technology-intensive industries like aerospace, we're seeing once again that our human capital is the best economic development tool we have."
"It's a real testament to Missouri's significant competitive advantages that we can put forward a competitive bid for this project without undertaking risky experiments or veering off into uncharted waters," Gov. Nixon said. "I look forward to working with the General Assembly to make sure the tools we have in place are ready to bring this game-changing project and thousands of jobs to the Show-Me State."