The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 10, 2013

State's offer to Boeing includes incentives to be determined

ATHENS —

Alabama's offer to land Boeing's new aircraft plant includes financial incentives that don't exist now, the governor said today.

"We will look at a different incentive package for Boeing if we are able to recruit them. And in fact, part of the thing we put into our package dealt with incentive packages we hope we can possibly develop," Gov. Robert Bentley told reporters at the Capitol.

Tuesday was the deadline for states to submit their packages to build Boeing's 777X plane. Bentley said Alabama got its offer in ahead of the deadline.

Bentley isn't saying how big Alabama's offer was. But he said that after landing several big projects — including Boeing's competitor, Airbus, for a $600 million plant in Mobile — the state will need to create new financial incentives because its current ones are about used up.

To recruit Airbus in 2012, Alabama provided a variety of state and local tax breaks and $158 million for bond expenses, site and road improvements, building costs and worker training. That plant is supposed to create about 1,000 jobs.

Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018 and grow to 8,500 by 2024.

"In order to recruit 8,500 jobs and that large of a project, obviously we need more than we have right now," the Republican governor said.

Bentley, a former state representative, said he believes the Legislature stands ready to help in any way needed. House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said last week he had assured the governor that the Legislature was ready to support him in recruiting Boeing.

Boeing is looking at the Huntsville area, where it has been a part of the business community for more than 50 years. It owns a 300-acre site between the two runways at the Huntsville airport, and the airport features a 12,500-foot runway, which is a key factor in trying to lure the plant, Bentley said.

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