McKenna Says He'll Re-Examine Boeing Deal

When he assumes office Jan. 12, Attorney General–elect Rob McKenna says, he'll take a new look at the $3.2 billion state tax "incentive" given to Boeing in return for its agreement last year to locate the 7E7 assembly plant in Snohomish County. "There are some outstanding legal issues to review," said McKenna, a King County Council member elected to the state post this month. He wouldn't discuss the issues, but said he opposes any similar tax giveaways. "I don't think we can ever replicate the Boeing package," McKenna, a Republican, said in an interview last Friday, Nov. 19, during the Prosperity Partnership meeting at Qwest Field. "We'd bankrupt ourselves."

Unresolved conflicts surrounding the Boeing giveaway, formulated by Democratic Gov. Gary Locke and approved by the Legislature, include the state's involvement of a consulting firm from Deloitte & Touche. Though Locke never disclosed it publicly, the firm was also Boeing's private consultant and its corporate outside auditor, with a direct financial interest in seeing Boeing get a favorable state deal. Questioned by Seattle Weekly, the governor's office later claimed its contract with Deloitte was vetted by the attorney general's office. But the AG's office denied ever seeing the pact. The governor refused to explain his failure to follow state law (see "Disinterest in Conflict," March 24).

McKenna, as AG, will deal principally with legal and regulatory issues. But during what he characterized as a sort of farewell policy speech at the Prosperity meeting, he told corporate leaders, "We can't continue to cut taxes to get a company to stay here." He was introduced to the audience by Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President Bob Watt, who noted, "He's really good at what he does."

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