Thursday, July 09, 2009

Is property value in Washington chasing Boeing out of the state?

Local radio talk shows have been buzzing since Boeing purchased South Carolina based Vought Aircraft. Vought is a Boeing supplier and the purchase is said to streamline some production bottlenecks between the two companies.

Purchase also fans the flames of speculation that Boeing may be looking to other areas for development of a new production line.

Boeing slowly leaving the state?

Dori Monson, at KIRO was pointing fingers at state government a few days ago. Taxes, regulations; the normal litany of complaint. Dori has libertarian leanings.

I have a different twist.

Property values.

Yes, Washington State, especially central Puget Sound, is expensive.

If Washington remains economically successful (in the traditional definition of success), we may have to brace ourselves for over a million new residents moving to Puget Sound area in the next decade or so.

Not the fault of government. It's just the price of our kind of civilization. Maybe we've just been too popular.

A friend of mine just moved back to South Carolina where she grew up. In S.C. she could buy a house for under $50,000. Out here in Washington State, it was a struggle to make enough money for house, or even rent payments in her case. She worked at Boeing for a while, but it was a long commute from where she could begin to afford to live. The commute became too wearing.

Anyway, it's fitting together better for her in SC. Job, housing, logistics. She says traffic is getting worse there, however. I don't think I would want to live there, from what people describe.

I'm lucky living in Washington in an affordable niche. The little room I live in is reasonable, but it's not the way most people live.

As for Boeing, who knows what their future plans are. So far it's just clearing up bottlenecks with suppliers, from what I read; aside from the ranting and raving of talk show hosts.

It's not Washington State government, necessarily that prices industry out of our area.

Still, government is kind of a reflection of our society. Washington State is a popular destination. Prices go up. When things get expensive, government gets expensive also. Think how much it costs to buy land for building a new road.

Then we have regulation. With the crush of new people always moving into this state, we have our raft of regulations that are sprung from concerns. We have growth management, storm water runoff, watershed preservation, farmland preservation rules and so forth.

You get the drift. We could "de-regulate," but would we want to?

Then there's the whole union and right to work state issues, but I'll leave that for other bloggers to talk about.

Sure, some regulation is stupid, but there is also a cost to success and a cost to popularity. It's our society, not just our government.


moneythoughts said...

I think it is plain economics. If Boeing can get the work force in South Carolina and pay them less money for the same work, then there is more money that drops to the bottom line. And, the bottom line is what it is all about. Boeing is a publicly traded corporation, and they have a board of directors. The board expects the CEO to grow the earnings of Boeing, or, they will get a new CEO who will. So, one way to grow the earnings is to cut expenses. Buy materials smarter, develop labor saving machines to cut costs, and finally move the plant to a state where there is cheaper labor. If it wasn't that they build planes used for defense, the company would have moved its plants to China by now. As for property values, that may be a reason, but it is only one of several factors that gets weighed into their decision.

Theslowlane Robert Ashworth said...

Labor costs can be cheaper in low cost of living areas.