Our Opinion: A special, extraordinary challenge

State legislators convene today for a special, or extraordinary, session to consider a package of economic development incentives to encourage Boeing Co. to build it new 777X aircraft in Missouri.

A special session, like suspension of the rules, is designed to address situations that are unforeseen and beyond the ordinary.

We have chastised state and local governments for employing these emergency powers to repair their own indecisiveness or ineptitude.

This special session escapes such criticism, because the opportunity arose only recently.

Boeing recently abandoned plans to build the new jet in the state of Washington, creating an opportunity for other states to pitch their proposals.

There has been no shortage of interest.

In addition to Missouri, other states signaling interest include Alabama, California, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

The prize is significant.

Gov. Jay Nixon, who called the special session, said: “Building this next-generation commercial aircraft in Missouri would create thousands of jobs across our state and secure our position as a hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing.”

And a deadline looms.

States must submit proposals by Dec. 10, nearly a month before Missouri’s regular session begins in January.

Lawmakers have been asked to consider an incentive package of up to $150 million annually.

That’s a massive amount, but Nixon said: “It’s important to note that these are the same targeted, fiscally responsible programs that are available to any company creating significant numbers of high-paying, family-supporting jobs.”

In recent regular sessions, legislators have tried and failed to reform Missouri’s range of tax incentives.

Had they succeeded, the parameters might have made their special session challenge less extraordinary.

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