Gov. Norm Bangerter asked House Democrats Monday for a straw poll to determine if they support providing a $10 million incentive for McDonnell Douglas Corp. to move 800 jobs to Utah.
What the caucus gave him was a split vote, 12 votes opposing the proposal and 12 votes to support the concept with "conditions" which could include offering the high-tech corporation only $5 million.Minority Whip Kelly Atkinson, D-West Jordan, said the governor would not pursue the funding unless he had support from at least two-thirds of the House. "The governor doesn't want to make McDonnell-Douglas political. He told me `If I don't have the 50 votes, I don't want it,' " Atkinson said.
Stan Parrish, executive director of the Department of Community and Economic Development, told Democrats the proposed allocation is not a loan. He described it as an incentive to help the corporation bring more jobs to Utah. "There is no direct benefit in terms of working capital for McDonnell-Douglas," he said.
The corporation plans to bring $578 million in business to the state over the next decade, which Parrish said would be a boon to Utah manufacturing firms, large and small. "They want to buy goods and services from Utah businesses," Parrish said.
Republicans, on the other hand, wholeheartedly support the proposal. "If they (Democrats) think they can play politics on this one, we will let McDonnell-Douglas die at their feet. It has to be a bipartisan effort. The Republicans will put up their votes, but the Democrats have to come through, too," said House Speaker Craig Moody, R-Sandy.