State, Charleston County approve new incentives for Boeing - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

State, Charleston County approve new incentives for Boeing

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Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill giving Boeing $120 million dollars in incentives for its expansion plans in North Charleston Tuesday afternoon.

Haley's spokesman Rob Godfrey released a statement to News 2 Tuesday discussing the importance of the partnership between the state of South Carolina and the airplane giant.

"It's a great day in South Carolina," the spokesperson said. "Boeing is a part of the fabric of South Carolina, and this solidifies our relationship with Boeing going forward."

The House approved the bill last Thursday. The Associated Press says this bill will cover Boeing's up front costs of buying and improving the land they will use for expansion.

The state's approval of an incentive plan comes the same day that the Charleston County Council unanimously approved updates to its 2010 incentive plan. The Council has approved to continue keeping Boeing's property tax rate at 4%, which is below the normal tax rate for corporations. That rate is closer to 10%.

The plan also calls for Boeing to be paid back 2% of its property taxes over 30 years. That money will go directly towards investment in its properties, such as the expansion the company announced last month.

The third part of the incentive package involves connecting Aviation Avenue to the Palmetto Commerce Parkway. Council member Elliott Summey tells News 2 the improvement plan was included in the package Tuesday night because it affects not only 53% of Boeing employees but also many Lowcountry drivers.

"That will take those folks out of the intersection of I 526 and 26. That will make folks' commutes everyday from Mount Pleasant to North Charleston to West Ashley to Downtown to Summerville," he said. "That's going to dramatically reduce the time they are in their cars and can be home with their loved ones."

But, Charleston County has also set up accountability criteria to make sure Boeing upholds its end of the deal.  Boeing must invest $1 billion dollars in the state by 2021. The aircraft giant must also create 2,000 new jobs by that 2021 deadline. If the company fails to do so, it will have to pay back a portion of its incentives. Summey said he has full faith the company will uphold its partnership.

Summey also said that this incentive plan will not raise property taxes for Charleston County residents. He said the $80 million in will take for the Aviation Avenue updates will come directly from Boeing giving back to the community.

"The monies that we are going to use for this road will not come from the property tax payers of Charleston County," Summey said. "It's going to come from the investment that Boeing is making in this community."

The improvement to the roads is expected to take anywhere from three to five years. Summey said the planning and designing for that new road will begin immediately.

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