Archive for Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kansas officials outraged, saddened by announced Boeing departure

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, right, answers questions from reporters about Boeing's decision to close its Wichita defense plant by the end of 2013, as state Commerce Secretary Pat George, left, watches, during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, right, answers questions from reporters about Boeing's decision to close its Wichita defense plant by the end of 2013, as state Commerce Secretary Pat George, left, watches, during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.

January 4, 2012


— Kansas political leaders Wednesday expressed outrage and disappointment over Boeing Co.’s announcement that it was closing its Wichita defense plant, sending more than 2,160 jobs to three other states.

“No one has worked harder for the success of Boeing than Team Kansas,” Gov. Sam Brownback said.

Boeing plans to shut down the Wichita plant by the end of 2013 to cut costs. “In this time of defense budget reductions, as well as shifting customer priorities, Boeing has decided to close its operations in Wichita to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and drive competitiveness,” said Mark Bass, vice president and general manager for the Boeing Defense, Space & Security facility in Wichita.

But less than a year ago, Kansas officials were applauding after helping Boeing secure a $35 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force to replace its refueling tankers. The contract had originally been awarded to Boeing arch rival EADS but Boeing protested the decision and under pressure from Kansas officials the Pentagon reopened the bidding process. Boeing had promised Kansas 7,500 jobs with an overall economic impact of $390 million.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., remembered that fight.

“Boeing’s chairman sat in my office 22 months ago during that battle and promised me, then-Senator Brownback and Congressman (Todd) Tiahrt that if we won the fight to get the tanker contract back, Boeing would stay in Wichita,” Roberts said.

“The chairman again promised the entire delegation the work would remain in Wichita just last February, when the tanker contract was settled in Boeing’s favor,” he said.

In addition to fighting for Boeing in the halls of Washington, D.C., Kansas political leaders have helped the company in Topeka and Wichita, providing Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers with numerous incentives in the form of tax breaks, research dollars, workforce training and lobbying might.

Boeing’s departure should teach state officials a lesson, said Kansas Democratic Chairwoman Joan Wagnon.

“We should all learn that throwing money at wealthy corporations to attract or retain jobs doesn’t guarantee loyalty or longevity,” Wagnon said.

“We need a new approach to economic development that invests first in our schools, our people, our roads and communities,” she said.

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, described Boeing as the “poster child of corporate tax incentives” getting tax breaks at every level of government.

“It is outrageous we will not be getting the 7,500 jobs promised by Boeing when they got the Tanker contract,” he said. He said Kansas will be less trusting of corporate promises in the future.

Boeing said it was moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to its plant in San Antonio, Texas, and engineering work to Oklahoma City. Work on the Air Force refueling tanker will be performed in Puget Sound, Wash. The company said the 24 Kansas suppliers on that program will continue to provide parts as originally planned.

But Charles Krider, business professor at Kansas University, said it will be difficult for suppliers and related companies to stay in Kansas, far away from the tanker work.

Krider called the loss of Boeing a “big blow, particularly since the state worked so hard to work with Boeing to get the tanker contract.”

He said that the federal defense budget is under a great deal of pressure, and that defense-related plant closures will probably happen in other parts of the country too.

He disagreed with the notion of ending economic incentives for businesses to come to Kansas. “It’s hard to have one state or one city disarm in that battle as long as surrounding states are doing it,” he said.

Kansas has long been fighting other states to maintain its aircraft manufacturing sector.

Last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom Brownback supports for president, signed into law a bill that gave Boeing a big tax break on aircraft temporarily located in Texas for manufacturing or assembly.

At that time, Perry said, “HB 3727 makes it easier for companies like Boeing to have cost certainty when it comes to their tax bill, helping them commit to doing more business in this community and our state.”

Boeing Defense, Space and Security President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Mullenberg said, “Our partnership with the state of Texas enables us to offer enhanced capabilities to our military and commercial customers, and supports Boeing’s goals to grow and become more competitive.”

Brownback and other Kansas officials on Wednesday said they would continue to work to expand aircraft manufacturing in the state, focusing on commercial aircraft production. Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Pat George said Kansas was well-positioned to grow in this area.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the decision by Boeing was “beyond disappointing.”

Davis added, “This is why I call upon Governor Brownback and legislators from both political parties to commit to make the creation of jobs our first priority this legislative session, invest heavily in job training so Boeing workers can receive the training they need to find new jobs and to promise these workers and the other Kansans without jobs that we will not reduce unemployment benefits by one penny.”


Sunny Parker 6 years, 4 months ago

“We need a new approach to economic development that invests first in our schools, our people, our roads and communities,” she said.


ljwhirled 6 years, 4 months ago

She is saying:

First we need to invest in education for our kids (both secondary and post secondary). It is a highly educated workforce that is going to matter in the future.

Next we invest in quality of life items like the arts, public parks, residential infrastructure, zoning and building regulation and the environment.

Finally we invest in infrastructure. Roads, bridges, fiber-optic networks.

These things attract quality companies. Do you think companies locate in New York City because of tax breaks? Really?

ljwhirled 6 years, 4 months ago

NavyVet - It must be tough living life without the ability to think past the first consequence of your actions.

You must be really, really bad at chess.

Of course investing in quality of life creates economic opportunities. "Job creators" want to live in nice communities with a quality workforce, so let me explain the steps:

  1. Invest in education, the arts and community.
  2. This makes the community attractive.
  3. Quality, highly educated people move there or grow up and stay there.
  4. These quality people start companies, create industries, start businesses and bring money into the community.
  5. Taxes from these individuals and companies are spent to continue improvement and sustainable of the community.
  6. Repeat.

For an example see: Silicone Valley or New York City.

Ken Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

This stinks. I dont see how they are going to save that much by moving. Moving is expensive. This is probably a mirage for a larger outsourcing it all to Mexico.

Aviation is really a goner of an industry for America. Aviation is so restrictive it is crazy. My brother is an airline pilot and he says, as a profession, there are far too many "gotchas". The FAA has gone nuts with regulations and medical standards and that is why the number of private pilots in American is down 75% since 1980.

Ken Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

You cannot expect an industry to survive with the kind of govt assault that the FAA is hammering pilots and aviation with.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 4 months ago

Are you kidding me? The only mistake government made here was believing in the integrity of the private sector. Joan Wagnon hit the nail on the head. This isn't a problem of over regulation. We need to invest in Kansas, not in big business. You watch too much fox news.

Phillbert 6 years, 4 months ago

This is a government contract. The only assault is the one the Republican Tea Party has launched on spending. They've now reaped the whirlwind.

Kontum1972 6 years, 4 months ago

most of the good aviators are retiring...vietnam era aviators...time to go.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago mean those nasty, unnecessary regulations like making sure the pilot is awake, stays awake, and has slept enough hours prior to his flight?

4getabouit 6 years, 4 months ago

Never fear Team Brownback is on this one. Well, at least he will be when he gets back from campaigning for Team Perry of Texas.

Enlightenment 6 years, 4 months ago

It's too bad that KS will lose so many jobs. However, now Brownback knows how it feels to get screwed by folks that say one thing and do another.

hyperinflate 6 years, 4 months ago

Uh? Exactly how many " is Saddened by Boeing" stories is the LJW going to release today? Starting to seem like the Baldwin Signal.

thebigspoon 6 years, 4 months ago

How about enough that the readers finally begin to see the hypocritical, inefficient, self-serving governor for what he really is.

buffalo63 6 years, 4 months ago

Tea Party wants to cut spending and get government out of our lives. Here is the example of that happening. Don't be surprised. Still more of the same to come. "If Boeing gets the tanker contract they will stay in Wichita." But they didn't say for how long or they had their fingers crossed. I only would like honesty when it comes from elected officials or the management of companies. The 99% screwed again.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 4 months ago

The conservatives want smaller government for the same reason criminals want less police. It's easier to get away with murder.

Mike1949 6 years, 4 months ago

pigballin : we always have because of the tax breaks. It all been coming out of our pockets for years! Before we had jobs that helped, now we don't even have that.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 4 months ago

Don't worry. The government does not create jobs, so how could this $35 billion contract to Boeing from the government matter at all?

Roberts, Moran, Brownback, Tiahrt, and "Team Kansas" must feel awfully betrayed. After letting their boyfriend Boeing do everything, he dumps them for a new girl.

If tax cuts and government concessions can't keep a company like Boeing in Kansas, then what can?

Oh yes, education and culture. An educated workforce and the culture to attract and retain it.

I don't see "Team Kansas" making any moves except hostile ones in this regard.

The Taliban is bad for business.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

I thought the argument is that government is less efficient in creating jobs (not always) so that less government leads to more investment by the private sector.

Consolidating large aircraft manufacturing probably make sense. I wonder where it will be? I wonder why we did not compete well?

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

There are 300 M of us, your references are from a bunch of idiots!

Jonathan Fox 6 years, 4 months ago

It seems to me that Boeing is not moving to a more educated nor cultured state, just a state with better tax incentives.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

I love it. Many in this space want less defense spending. This is the consequence of less defense spending. You should be happy!

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

Absolutely nothing. I expected it. I expect more bad news

ljwhirled 6 years, 4 months ago

In this case (the KC-10) we really do need to spend the money.

Our existing tankers are 50 to 60 years old and are based on the Boeing 707.

They are getting very, very expensive to maintain. Imagine driving a 55 Chevy as your daily commuter. It would get expensive fast.

Yes we should cut defense spending, but air refueling modernization isn't one of the programs we should look at cutting. We should be focused on cutting expenses on the F-22, F-35, redundant manpower and space systems.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

The only reason those tankers are necessary is because folks like you think we need a fleet of military aircraft larger than that possessed by the rest of the world combined.

Only when we get over the idea that we need to run a worldwide military to protect the empires of multinational corporations can we pare down our military to sane levels solely for the purpose of (true) defense.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

George, exactly how much more government spending on defense do you want? Give us a number. Also, if government spending cuts hurt the economy, does that mean the government should be spending more than they already do?

This is an example of what happens with smaller government. It isn't pretty.

Boeing chose to move the operations they have. There is no guarantee that they would have stayed had more taxes that the government doesn't have gone to Boeing. The contracts could be double, and they still could choose to go to Texas.

patkindle 6 years, 4 months ago

lawrence citizens dont care

these boeing slots are alot of blue collar jobs, plus wichita isnt lawrence

plus it is easier for the lawrence liberals to live off the dole and let the rest of us pay for their funables

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 4 months ago

I suspect Lawrence liberals have fewer people living off the government dole than either Wichita or Johnson county.

Liberals in Kansas support good roads, good schools, good law enforcement and good fiscal policy. Kansas reactionaries aka conservatives care about only two things 1) Taliban style social policies and 2) destroying good government by starving it to death both of which will destroy Kansas and the American way of life.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

We have good roads (think MO). We have good schools. We have social programs paid by the state. We have good higher education programs.

The issue is not supporting good government it is supperting endlessly expanding government

ljwhirled 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks to decades of moderate republican and democratic rule in the state.

With the wacko anti-government children in charge this is changing rapidly.

Jonathan Becker 6 years, 4 months ago

"Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing… how embarrassing." - Yoda

guess_again 6 years, 4 months ago

A list of recent tax give-aways to Boeing from the state legislature. This included allowing Boeing to keep the state taxes paid by all of its employees:

Mike Ford 6 years, 4 months ago

maybe if the kansas dumblican delegation would've bribed Boeing the way the dumblicans like Governor Shelby and Senator Sessions of Alabama did with Mercedes Benz and Hyundai in Alabama and Governor Southern Drawl Barbour did with Nissan and Toyota with promises of tax abatements and plantation wages for workers in Mississippi Boeing might've stayed in Wichita. Having witnessed how these dumblicans do back room bribery deals with companies in the south I'm surprised our quasi southern republican politicians with their political hires from Florida didn't follow suit here in Kansas.

Kawatchi 6 years, 4 months ago

A tuschkahouma post that uses the word "dumblican" and mentions Mississippi? No way!

blindrabbit 6 years, 4 months ago

Didn't fit in with the Koch's business plan for Kansas.

guess_again 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm wondering if the crowd will be a little larger the next time an "Occupy Wichita" protest happens.

fearthetaliban 6 years, 4 months ago

Sam worked on Perry's campaign while for the past year Rick has had his team stealing Boeing. Poor Sam got schooled

bevy 6 years, 4 months ago

What tickles me is that they all seem so SHOCKED and DISMAYED! You mean, someone didn't do what they PROMISED? Politicians are surprised by this? Why? One in the face for Sam and Co. Do you suppose he is still praying for Gov. Perry to become the POTUS?

Ken Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

Citing defense budget cuts after winning a $35B military contract doesn't really make sense. They really urinated in the faces of KS politicians, but hey who is crying for them? They will continue to urinate on us today, tomorrow, and days after.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

Brownback politics scared BOEING not only out of town also out of the state!

Voter ID, Marriage policy,cutting off cultural connections from the rest of the world and perhaps sees Brownback as the key to completely destroying the state's economy.

After all what did Brownback learn from his RINO pals in the beltway? How to screw people out of jobs and wreck the economy.

Ken Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

Merrill, you might be right. Perhaps Boeing management did not want to live in a regressive State.

Orwell 6 years, 4 months ago

Republicans had their chance to negotiate deficit reductions that didn't require so much reduction in defense spending. They preferred to let those discussions collapse, so they wouldn't have to consider more contributions from their billionaire contributors.

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago

and what is the republican health care plan? if you get sick hurry up and die!

Scott Tichenor 6 years, 4 months ago

Brownback failure. Subtract from that big false sign he had a few months back claiming job growth. Had this happened under Sibelius you Republican chicken-sitters, oops, spelling error... would be out here cleaning up the floor with her. Where are ya know? Spin this one. I can hardly wait.

FlawontheKaw 6 years, 4 months ago

So funny! What a fantastic nugget indeed....roflol

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

I am upset about the move like most Kansas. But i do find it rather amusing that a politician is calling Boeing to task for not keeping their word.

Mick Lowe 6 years, 4 months ago

I am assuming that Gov. Brownback will take responsibility for the loss of all these jobs since he is so quick to take credit for all the "phantom" jobs he has supposedly created in the first two nightmare years of his administration.

SeaFox 6 years, 4 months ago

Politicians outraged they were lied to? I wonder if the irony is lost on them.

globehead 6 years, 4 months ago

In July, Mr. Brownback held a press conference wherein he stood before a chart taking credit for the creation of 3162 jobs in Kansas since having taken office the preceding January. Now, we lose over 2000 Boeing jobs in one swoop. I look forward to his next press conference where he will again stand before a chart taking credit for his fine achievements. If you did in fact have anything to do with the creation of those 3163 jobs you paraded before us in July Mr. Brownback, then you equally deserve the credit for the loss of the 2000+ jobs at Boeing.

Thanks for a job well done, and moreover, thank you for the integrity for taking credit too!

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago

maybe sammy should spend a little more time in kansas then in iowa following perry around.

preebo 6 years, 4 months ago

I noticed the adverb "surprised" is not among the emotions or expressions displayed by this administration. Outraged? of course, especially when your Governor emphatically promises one of the states largest employers isn't going anywhere. Saddened, well absolutely, as a result, the Governors job plan seems to be floundering.

Simply put, this was bound to happen. Kansas has already given Boeing all it can in tax relief, but without any further incentive Boeing was going to pull up stakes eventually. This is the name of the game now. Corps. hold cities/states hostage, states capitulate and throw away millions in tax revenue and when the deal is no longer beneficial for said corp. they go off to the next watering hole. Thus continues to race to the bottom for state and municipal government to lure business into their area.

Tristan Moody 6 years, 4 months ago

Of course, if you carefully look through the media releases relating to the tanker contract, you notice the only people actually quoted about the supposed job gains were the Kansas politicians -- Parkinson, Brownback, Roberts, and Tiahart. They were making promises that weren't theirs to make.

Will they learn from this? Who knows.

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago

Top 20 Contributors Representative Mike Pompeo 2011 - 2012 1 Koch Industries $27,500 $21,500 $6,000 12 Boeing Co $5,000 $0 $5,000

Top 20 Contributors Senator Pat Roberts 2005 - 2010 1 Koch Industries $89,150 $79,150 $10,000 7 Boeing Co $19,750 $9,750 $10,000

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago


1 Boeing Co $33,600 $28,600 $5,000 2 Koch Industries $31,363 $26,363 $5,000

Alceste 6 years, 4 months ago

Alceste suspects we shall see a spike in applications for food stamps and such in the Wichita area. Alceste also suspects Brownback and Company will inhibit the processing of said applications. Perhaps the Wichita SRS office will be on the chopping block this go around?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 4 months ago

Fine with me... the food stamp community can move to Oklahoma and Texas with the revenue to support them.

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 4 months ago

What kind of a moron goes out and campaigns for a presidential candidate who signed a tax break bill to lure Boeing from Kansas to Texas?

Our illustrious leader Sammy. Yeah, he really cares about what happens here doesn't he?

SnakeFist 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't understand, I thought if we elected a large republican majority, eliminated the arts, cut education spending, and didn't raise taxes then businesses would flock to Kansas (because workers don't benefit from the arts, don't have children, and don't want any tax-funded services). What went wrong with that simpleminded strategy?

blueinkansas 6 years, 4 months ago

Welcome to life in Brownbackistan! Since his main goal the past two years has been to eliminate everything that makes a state worth while to live in, maybe he out to eliminate stupidy by our leaders. This state has become so regressive no company with an educated leadership (moderates) want to operate businesses here. I am sick of the Koch Brothers imposing their outdated ideas on the citizens of this country. Unfortunately, my total hatred for the Koch brothers' politics does little to ease my remorse for what has had happened to this state, I can't imagine what Kansas will look like once the "evangelical conservatives" take complete control over the government in 2012.Good Luck, Kansans, I'm out of here!!!!

olddognewtrix 6 years, 4 months ago

This is proof of the impotence and incompetence of our Kansas Tea Party Congresional delegation and Governor

Brandon Devlin 6 years, 4 months ago

I feel bad for the employees in Wichita, but I have to laugh at Brownback and Roberts for their ignorance. They entwined themselves in the Defense Procurement procedure, which they had no business doing. They screamed bloody murder when the Air Force awarded the contract the second time to Northrop Grumman/EADS, because the contract "shouldn't go to a foreign-based company." (EADS was the European-owned sub to Northrop Grumman, a company based in Falls Church, VA.) Oh, and Kansas would lose jobs if it went to Northrop Grumman, because Boeing already has an operation in Kansas. (So does Northrop Grumman.)

Guess what? Northrop Grumman is still operating in Kansas.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 4 months ago

Republicans scream and flaunch about "cutting costs....reduce the deficit. Boeing finds a way to comply, to cut costs in their company. Closing one of their many factories. It is in Kansas, you know, the land of Oz. Who cares? So now that costs have been reduced, they scream and flaunch about "lost jobs". Hey, Brownie, Moron and Robber!! What goes aound comes around. You and your cohorts have been screaming about reducing the deficit without any sort of suggestions outside of taking away retiring American's Social Security and Medicare benefits (which we have paid for for many, many years.)

So what is the deal? Hypocracy reigns supreme with these clowns.

lucky_guy 6 years, 4 months ago

Here's something else. Boeing Wichita was Westar's second largest customer. So the cost of distribution of utilities will be spread across the rest of their customers. This just gets better and better. Our congressional delegation seems totally out of their league on this. Where were Yoder and Jenkins? Oh yea they don't take calls from people not in their districts. Roberts was outraged once he sobered up.
Boeing wanted out of Wichita for years that is why they sold out Spirit. They kept the military side of Boeing till they got the tanker contract then goodbye, suckers. Pompeo should call a rape crisis hotline.

Getaroom 6 years, 4 months ago

Uh, did anyone notice that Pat George and Brownbackward seem like they were hungover or something? Maybe they didn't get their regular Koch fix for the day. The only detrimental Occupying that seems to be threatening Liberty and Justice across America is all the Occupying of Lawmakers seats by Republicans across this country. Talk about false hope and no change!

dinglesmith 6 years, 4 months ago

This is really simple folks. The labor rate for Boeing in Kansas is tied to the union labor rate in Washington even though Kansas is a right to work state. I have no idea why this is the case. Although it is technically illegal, Boeing is moving its work to places where they don't have labor unions or this tie back to Washington unions, and thus do not have to pay their workers as much. This has nothing to do with taxation, social services, or anything else. (Please don't interpret my comment as either pro- or anti-union. I don't intend either)

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

I like the "technically" illegal part.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

It is interesting that Boeing Waited for SECDEF to announce major cutbacks to provide coverage for moving the work.

Sounds like a lot of the cuts are in ground forces. Watch for the next hit out west

blindrabbit 6 years, 4 months ago

The lines of stress are starting to show on Smilin Sams face as evidenced by the story photo! Why:

Early red-eye return from praying trip to Iowa with tanking Herr Hair! Having to fire/replace his group of Phonies from Florida! How to rein in his racist Speaker of the House! Figuring out how to offset Boeing job losses with McDonalds, Burger King etc.! How to regain soime emphasis on the "Arts"! Missing his "C" Street buddies and their cloistered lifestyle! Dealing with major issues such as Education, Medical without killing his support! All this without offending the Koch-a-Kolas!

beaujackson 6 years, 4 months ago

I suspect high union wages in Wichita had lots to do with the Boeing move.

And, it's still a "cow town".

Charlie Bannister 6 years, 4 months ago

I have a friend who has been a tool and die maker for Boeing in Wichita for over 30 years. The talk there in Wichita is going something like this. Obama's NLRB has given Boeing a ton of grief for trying to be competitive in a world marketplace and building a plant in a right to work state in South Carolina. NLRB has pretty much insinuated to Boeing that they will tone it down on the South Carolina plant if Boeing will relocate some jobs to a "closed shop" state such as Washington. This is union thuggery and Chicago politics at work yet again. Never ends with this outlaw regime.

blindrabbit 6 years, 4 months ago

beau: Don't think your higher wages story makes sense if you are talking about jobs moving from Kansas to Washington state. This is apples and oranges, but Washington state just passed the highest minimum wage in the U.S., while Kansas grovels at the bottom. Granted the Boeing jobs are not minimum wage, but might speak to some other reason. Kosmo513: the seeds of this Boeing move were started many years ago when Boeing moved it's headquarters from Seattle to Chicago; much prior to any attempted blame on Obama. I would look closer to home, including influence (or lack of) from the Koch owned Kansas republicans. Where was Pat Roberts in this whole thing; as chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, why did he let this ball drop. Also William Gates, a native of Wichita, and Secretary of Defense. Looks like all of this republican groveling did us little good!

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