Seattle, WA — Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) issued the following statement in response to The Boeing Company’s request for the Washington State Legislature to temporarily suspend the $8.7 billion in tax breaks given to the company in 2013 by the State Legislature and Governor Inslee.
The legislation, House Bill (HB) 2945, is scheduled to be debated and voted on at 3:30 today in the House Finance Committee. Passage of HB 2945, and its companion Senate Bill 6690, would effectively help protect the company’s executives and major shareholders in their legal battles with the European Union (EU) to head off tariffs, but Boeing is demanding that the corporate tax breaks “snap back” automatically once they have a new agreement with the EU.
In strongly rejecting any such “snap back” of Boeing’s tax breaks, Councilmember Sawant said, “Boeing’s major shareholders, who have extracted eye-popping dividends of more than $17 billion over the last six years, are once again shamelessly demanding that the State Legislature do their bidding to help them ward off international competition and yet keep the highway robbery of corporate handouts they extorted from working people in 2013.”
“A few days after I was first elected to Seattle City Council in November 2013, I stood in solidarity with Boeing workers against the stunning betrayal by the Democratic-led State Legislature and Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, allowing Boeing executives to extort the single-largest corporate tax handout in United States history under the threat of job losses, and forcing the union members to freeze their pensions.
“Boeing has cut nearly 13,000 jobs since 2013, demonstrating what my office and Socialist Alternative have said repeatedly – that bending to corporate bullying, threats, and extortion is a failed strategy.” “Just like on that rainy evening six years ago, I am proud to once again stand with my sisters and brothers in IAM 751 and SPEEA, and with the WA State Labor Council in opposing any automatic reinstatement of the corporate tax handout,” Sawant said.
“Governor Inslee and many of those Democrats are still in Olympia. They need to pass the bill ending the tax handouts with no ‘snapback,’ and then legislatively require the company to negotiate with the unions on solid, measurable outcomes on jobs growth and union rights. The politicians in Olympia have the unique opportunity to fix the huge mistake they made in 2013; they’d better not blow it again this time.”
“Boeing’s action in Olympia is unfortunately just another example of how big corporations behave and how the capitalist system works. It’s no different than Amazon and other big corporations demanding that the Legislature ‘preempt’ (or ban) Seattle from enacting a progressive tax on big business to fund social housing and a Green New Deal – as corporations are doing in the debate over House Bill 2948. Our state has the most regressive tax system in the country, and we must tax big business NOT working people to fund essential needs.”