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Nixon Signs Bill To Entice Boeing To Choose St. Louis

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

After calling a special session last month, Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill Tuesday to lure Boeing to choose St. Louis as the location to build its new commercial aircraft: the 777X.

Now the decision is up to the aerospace giant.

About a dozen other states are vying for Boeing’s thousands of jobs, after the company announced it was looking for a new location following contract disagreements with Seattle’s machinist union.

Nixon wouldn’t get into specifics on what he thought Missouri’s chances are in landing the aircraft project, other than to say that he thinks it's a good chance.

"This is not a guarantee that we will succeed, but boy oh boy, a guarantee we would fail is if we didn’t compete when these transformational opportunities came," Nixon told reporters.

The bill offers Boeing $1.7 billion in incentives over the next two decades. St. Louis County has also approved $1.8 billion in tax breaks, which will be folded into the state’s package.

When asked about the prospect of giving large tax breaks to a company that makes billions, Nixon argued that Boeing’s competitor receives large incentives from the European Union.

“My sense is that this set of proper incentives are a taxpayer-sensitive, but appropriate way for us to help defray the cost of this significant investment, and are necessary parts for the state and our country to be competitive worldwide," Nixon said.

The governor also pointed out that the aircraft’s predecessor, the 777, generates $20 billion in economic activity every year. Nixon said the company is hoping to make its decision in mid to late January.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel