(Corrects to show Boeing is largest private employer in city,
not state, paragraph 2)
By Harriet McLeod
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., July 12 Boeing Co.'s
South Carolina 787 Dreamliner manufacturing plant got a large
tax break when the North Charleston City Council voted to slash
in half the current top rate used to calculate annual fees for
businesses earning $250 million or more.
The City Council approved a measure on Thursday that cuts
the annual business licensing fee Boeing, the city's largest
private employer, pays to the city to 0.1 percent on gross
revenue from Boeing's local plant. The new rate applies to
revenue that exceeds $7.5 billion a year.
For revenue between $250 million and $7.5 billion, the rate
was cut to 5 percent from 10 percent.
The South Carolina plant, Boeing's second assembly facility
after its main factory in Everett, Washington, currently builds
1.5 Dreamliners a month and wants to increase that to three a
month by mid-2014, spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said. Boeing says
the annual production rate target remains 10 a month for the
combined output of both facilities. So far, the company is
producing an average of 7 planes a month.
At a list price of $207 million, 36 Dreamliners a year would
yield about $7.45 billion in annual revenue, but airlines
typically get discounts on planes.
The tax measure "was not introduced to benefit a particular
business or industry," North Charleston finance director Warren
Newton said, but rather "to promote future business growth."
In April, Boeing announced plans to invest at least $1
billion to expand production in its South Carolina factory over
the next eight years, creating at least 2,000 additional jobs.
Boeing has more than 6,000 workers in the state.
The company has received tax breaks and incentives from the
city, Charleston County and the state totaling more than $1
Boeing shares were down about 5 percent in early afternoon
trade on Friday after a Dreamliner, operated by Ethiopian
Airlines, caught fire and closed London's Heathrow Airport.
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Alwyn Scott and Leslie