Friday, October 30, 2009

Boeing in South Carolina

Left: Boeing illustration of the 787 Dreamliner.

As you have undoubtedly heard by now, South Carolina got Boeing and the conservatives are crowing (yes, I'm a poet)... it's fairly nauseating.

Should Mark Sanford (our wayward, romantically-preoccupied governor) get credit for this economic coup? -- is the political question of the hour.

In any event, he is wasting no time in grabbing the credit:

SC Gov: Boeing 787 Plant Should Spur Growth Across State
By Ann Keeton
Wall Street Journal

CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Boeing Co.'s (BA) new 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, should have "a ripple effect that will play out over time," generating economic activity across the state, Mark Sanford, South Carolina's governor, said in an interview Thursday with Dow Jones Newswires.

Sanford spoke by telephone en route to Charleston from the state capitol.

Late Wednesday, Boeing said it had chosen South Carolina over Washington state for added 787 production. The new facility, to supplement final assembly in Washington state, is expected to be up and running by July of 2011.

To woo Boeing, South Carolina legislators offered substantial financial incentives. Boeing gets those benefits if it brings in at least 3,800 new jobs and invests $750 million in the next few years.

"This is the largest single job creation in South Carolina history," Sanford said. "It will give us an immediate shot in the arm at a time when it's needed."

As with other states, South Carolina is battling unemployment, now at about 10%. But, Sanford said, that comes on top of strong job growth in the past few years, as 85,000 new workers have come into the state. He hopes that Boeing will hire as many local workers as possible, although the number of local hires hasn't been discussed.

Over the long term, Sanford expects Boeing suppliers and other businesses to come to South Carolina, "repeating what we saw with BMW." The German auto maker has had a U.S. production plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for 15 years, and currently is expanding that facility.

Boeing recently bought out a supplier's factory in North Charleston, and plans to expand there to add production capacity for the 787. But Sanford said he and South Carolina officials have been talking to Boeing since 2003, when the aircraft maker turned down his state's offer to start initial 787 assembly work in Everett, Washington.

In its home state of Washington, Boeing's Commercial Airplanes unit employs about 73,000 workers, and accounts for many more jobs there.

In the Seattle area, where most workers are located, business costs are relatively high, partly due to the presence of unions. Sanford said the recent decision by Boeing's North Charleston workers to reject union representation made a difference to Boeing, which has suffered a series of employee strikes in recent years. "They proved to Boeing that this is a right-to-work state," Sanford said.
(((sigh))) Yes, let's trash the unions some more, while we're at it.

Meanwhile, WIS in Columbia reports that this will make things easier on Sanford, so his happiness is unmistakably for himself and his own fate:

Boeing announcement may mean less heat on Sanford
Posted: Oct 29, 2009
By Jackie Faye

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - No one was happier to hear that Boeing was moving a major operation to South Carolina than Governor Mark Sanford.

With calls for his resignation and talk of impeachment, the deal and the economic growth it promises has taken the heat off the governor, for now.

Sanford says the cooperation that allowed South Carolina to seal the Boeing deal is a good sign for state government.

"To get something done means working in bipartisan fashion wherever you can, and where you respectfully disagree, you respectfully disagree," said Sanford.

One senator calls the Boeing decision a "quantum leap" for a state that's seen more than its share of negative news. One question remains: will Boeing also be a boost for the beleaguered governor?

Sanford, targeted first for his admitted affair and later following questions about his air travel, was still under fire this week by a handful of lawmakers who want him impeached.

"Leaving his state for five days without anybody knowing where he was, there was no chain of command or protocol established to exercise executive authority," said Rep. Greg Delleney. "If anybody else had done that, they would have lost their job. And he ought to lose his."

But some say the Boeing announcement has energized efforts to attack the state's unemployment problem, and impeachment could be too much of a distraction.

"What I've tried to do is take my cue from my constituents," said Gilda Cobb-Hunter. "What my constituents have said to me very clearly is, 'look Gilda, y'all have beat that horse to death. What I want to hear from you is what are you all going to do about bringing jobs to this state?' After all, the responsibility for job creation doesn't just rest with the executive branch. It also rests with the legislative branch."

"We understand what the important issues facing the state are," said Rep. Kenny Bingham. "We're doing everything we can to move in that direction. There are certain other issues obviously that come up that are beyond our control that we do have to deal with to some degree. But I think our focus is going to be moving South Carolina forward. I think that was pretty obvious yesterday in the last two days this week as we've been in session, dealing with the employment security commission. Dealing with the Boeing deal and the incentives package that we put together."

A lot is riding on the results of the state ethics commission investigation. Lawmakers say if that report fails to turn up solid evidence of serious misconduct the impeachment effort might begin, but it will ultimately go nowhere.
Translation: We lost our window of opportunity to get rid of Sanford and weaken and divide the South Carolina GOP. They are now united once again, however tattered and torn from within... as the Christian conservatives who were ready to roast Sanford on a spit (particularly women who identified with Jenny Sanford and admired her decorum in the face of this horrible disaster for her family), quickly back off and regroup.

If we'd had a strong, well-connected and well-financed dissident faction to go after Sanford immediately, we could have gotten rid of him in the first two weeks after the scandal. I knew when we didn't, that he had won the necessary reprieve. A master politician, he turned the confused attrition of his opponents into the appearance of a lack of political will, rather than basic disagreement about how to proceed.

Point, Sanford.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, waiting in the wings, thanks you.


sheila said...

Obviously this will definitely take some heat off him...or so he hopes. Either that or he wants a free membership in the mile high club. *hee hee*

Hey daisy, a friend of mine who barely blogs has something you might like this week...

Marshall-Stacks said...

is he still roaming around out there?

I just read this at

"Fornication is a crime where both parties are not married to anyone or to each other, and it is actually still an enforceable statute in at least one state: South Carolina.

Fly him to the moon!