Utah legislators have quietly put more than $700,000 into the state's industrial development assistance fund hoping to land a big fish - Intel and/or Boeing or another company interested in locating or expanding their operations in the state.
GOP legislative leaders didn't pump in $4 million like Gov. Mike Leavitt suggested. But they hope the money they are allocating will be some attractive bait.The extra cash comes because of two failed projects - a Midvale golf course that didn't get off the ground and a Provo professional baseball team that didn't come about either.
"I'm told that Intel and Boeing are interested," said one GOP leader who asked his name not be used.
Intel's interest is known.
Earlier in this legislative session Intel officials met with House Speaker Mel Brown and others. The local representatives of the huge computer chip manufacturer are trying to get their corporate bosses to look at building a large, campus-like research and development facility somewhere along the Wasatch Front.
A bill that would provide an income tax break for R&D expenses is moving through the Legislature this year. That bill was conceived and filed before Intel showed interest in expanding its Utah operations, but the hope of getting the high-paying, clean jobs is helping the effort.
The old McDonnell Douglas aircraft component assembly plant east of the Salt Lake International Airport was rumored to be in trouble after Boeing announced it was buying the company last year.
But now, GOP leaders say, Boe-ing is looking at expanding, not closing down, the Utah operation. "And they may want to use some of that (industrial) money," the leader said.
Cheryl C. Smith, spokeswoman for Boeing's Salt Lake operation, said Wednesday that there have been "a lot of visitors" from Boeing headquarters in Seattle to the plant, located near the airport, but there have been no announcements on the company's intentions for the former McDonnell Douglas facility.
The fund works on a credit system. A large company that otherwise qualifies spends money on creating new jobs in Utah and the year after applies for tax credits based on those job creation expenditures.
Thus, the $720,000 now earmarked for the fund wouldn't be drawn out until fiscal 2000 or later, leaders said.
Still, adding money to the fund is one way to tell companies considering the state that we want them here, the leader added.
First of all, we did take advantage of that fund several lyears ago and that was paid back. one of the things i do for boeing, is find palces to put new work and attractd and retain facils and jobs. i have to commend state of utah through leg and exec branches for being dedicated and selective in getting jobs to utah. thats what the fund is designe for. its precluded from being earmarked to be company spceific. suppsoed to attract and rtetain. we have been ind isc with utah for yeras, ongoing discussions, about our facil there. good on for us. had disc about beoing being a biz resident in utah. we appreciate it. don is closer to that than us. since the boeing mcdon merger alst year we are in process of looking at all of the nationwide and inter ops and facils of the new and bigger boieng co. there will be decisions made over the next few months as sto where we can place work most effectively and they are nt in place yet. wont be for awhlile. first thing will be to tell our emps about them and then the world at large. no way we can speculate on what may be going on or what changes mightd be made. i would put it that way. there is good work going on there. soon after ht merger. member of top execs including the chairm and pres made a tour of facils of our companeis and they were impressed. i dont thnk we ever commited to a partic time framae. some strtegic product decision made thoe are all part of the greater strategic thing that has to be put together. new boeing being a global co. they are looking well beyond seattle. we now have facils in 27 states, not just wasingoton.
Don Hanson, mag of medea relatiosn and david brown, dir of state gove relations, . don is 562-593-4710 562-593-6061.