ISLE OF PALMS — Two days after union members in Washington state voted down a mega-incentives package for Boeing, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday that she has reached out to the aerospace giant to ask about building the plane at the company’s North Charleston plant site.
“I reached back out to them, I said, ‘We’re very sorry this happened, South Carolina is on standby and ready for you whenever you need us,’” Haley said after speaking at an event sponsored by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce in the Isle of Palms. “I want (to do) whatever we can do to be helpful to Boeing. Naturally I want jobs. I want lots of jobs. ... What I don’t want to do is be harassing to them. What I do want to do is be very supportive of them.”
South Carolina taxpayers already have been supportive to Boeing this year to the tune of $120 million in incentives for a planned expansion. Boeing received $450 million in incentives to open the 6,000-employee plant, which builds 787 Dreamliners.
Haley said it was too early to talk about what, if any, incentives South Carolina might offer Boeing to build the 777X in North Charleston.
“I think you are hearing a lot of rumors right now. I wouldn’t take any rumors seriously. Things don’t turn on a dime like that, especially with a company the size of Boeing,” Haley said. “Our job is to support them in every decision that they make and to be there for them, so they know that South Carolina always wants to be their home.”
Haley told reporters she feels bad for the governor of Washington.
“It’s a terrible thing when you see great industry in your state that is trying to work and you see unions go in and kill it and that’s basically what happened, she said.
Haley, who has long opposed unions, added “what happened in Washington is precisely why I fight unions every day.”
Boeing broke ground in nearby North Charleston on Tuesday for a plant that will make jet engine air inlets and that could one day be expanded to a variety of propulsion work.
The Associated Press contributed.