The Wichita City Council approves giving Hawker Beechcraft a $2.5 million incentive. The money is a part of a larger state incentive package worked out last December. The state, city and county came up with $45 million in funding to keep Hawker from moving its operations out of Wichita.
The state will provide $40 million in incentives. The city and county are each supposed to chip in $2.5 million. In return, Hawker is supposed to employ at least 4,000 workers in Wichita through 2020. However the company could actually employ 3,601 people before having to pay back any of the money.
Council member Michael O'Donnell says the public needs to be aware of the job numbers. He says it's a problem that Hawker can employ less than 4,000 without being in violation of the deal. He says they have no reason to keep those 400 jobs here. O'Donnell cast the only no vote on the Hawker incentive.
Two citizens asked the city council to also vote down the funding. A young man told the council it's not a good use of public funds. Mayor Carl Brewer told the young man that he needed to become more educated on the issue.
Brewer says they are competing with 25 states and other countries to keep Hawker here. He says Wichita has already lost aviation jobs and the city, county and state must work to avoid more losses. He says Louisiana alone offered to give Hawker land, build it a facility and $500 million in cash. Brewer says the threat is real and that's why they are giving Hawker this incentive.
Sedgwick County will vote on its portion of the incentive package, $2.5 million next week.¿