AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry’s office has filed a lawsuit seeking to keep secret the financial incentives offered to Boeing Co. to build a plant in Texas.
The lawsuit filed Thursday was in response to a request from Alfred Ehm, a member of the Texas Central Rail-Corridor Coalition of San Antonio, for details of the possible tax breaks that were being offered to the airplane maker.
"I’m trying to make a point that the government cannot receive and spend taxpayer money and claim they’re not a public agency," Ehm told the Austin American-Statesman.
The state’s Department of Economic Development, run by the governor’s office, is negotiating with Chicago-based Boeing to build a manufacturing plant in Texas.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office ruled in October that some of the information about the incentives must be released.
But the economic development department contends the incentive package Texas offered Boeing should not be open to the public because it contains confidential commercial and financial information.
Exposing the information would jeopardize the state’s ability to attract businesses, the department said in an August letter to the attorney general. Washington state officials have refused to release details of their proposal for the same reason.
"If businesses believe that communications with the state during the site selection process cannot be kept confidential, then Texas will be put at a severe competitive disadvantage and it will not be considered a business location," the letter said.
The attorney general’s office ruled that the economic development department had "not demonstrated that the submitted information is protected trade secret information or commercial or financial information of a business prospect."
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