Bidding wars

It’s pretty nasty stuff but it is part of economic development. Bombardier is clearly playing cities off each other in a public way to see where they can get the best deal.

A $240 million plan to entice a Canadian airplane maker to Kansas City flew through the Legislature on Wednesday as politicians praised it as Missouri’s best chance to land a super-sized development deal.

Political optimism aside, there is no guarantee that Bombardier Aerospace will choose to take Missouri’s incentives instead of those offered by its home country.

Bombardier, the world’s third-largest civilian plane manufacturer, is looking for a place to make its new series of 110- or 130-seat passenger jets. Missouri is offering a large swath of grassland near Kansas City International Airport as an alternative to Bombardier’s previously expressed preference of Mirabel, Canada, just north of its Montreal headquarters.

Missouri’s deal would provide up to $240 million in tax credits over eight years, beginning in 2013, based on the number of employees hired at the assembly plant. Bombardier would repay the tax credits, plus a 5.1 percent rate of return, by giving Missouri a fixed amount of money for each plane it sells from the plant.

Along with the state aid, Kansas City would issue bonds under which the city owns the property and lease it back to Bombardier.

Sponsoring Rep. Ron Richard predicted Missouri has about a 75 percent chance of landing the assembly plant.