House Speaker Ryan tours Boeing, talks tax reform with employees

KOMO photo.

EVERETT, Wash. - House Speaker Paul Ryan stopped in Everett Thursday morning for a Town Hall meeting with Boeing employees.

Ryan discussed ideas for tax reform and took questions from the crowd. He arrived before 8 a.m. for a tour of the facility and spoke to employees around 9 a.m.

Ryan told the crowd he hopes congress will pass tax reform by the end of the year. The new plan will likely cut corporate taxes, simplify individual tax returns, and reduce market regulations among other things.

“We are taxing this business, these planes, your jobs, in this country at a much higher tax rate than our foreign competitors tax theirs,” Speaker Ryan said. “And when we tax ourselves much higher than our competitors tax theirs, we shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg supported Ryan throughout the town hall, saying Boeing and its workers would benefit from tax reform and other ideas the speaker discussed.

“As tax reform happens, it’s going to drive us to innovate and invest in our factories and in manufacturing,” Muilenburg said.

Ryan was also asked about his ability to influence President Donald Trump.

“It’s a day-by-day deal,” Ryan laughed before clarifying, “I’m kind of joking.”

This is Ryan's second stop in the Pacific Northwest this week.

Ryan announced at an Intel facility in Oregon on Wednesday that he plans to push for an overhaul of the tax code for companies like Intel.

He says nobody is interested in a government shutdown, and in response to President Donald Trump's demand for a border wall, he says we need to control our borders.

Immigrant rights groups were among those protesting Ryan in Oregon Wednesday.

Protesters with Tax March Seattle, Not One Penny and Indivisible WA rallied outside the gates of Boeing's Everett campus as Ryan spoke Thursday. The group brought an inflatable rooster that resembles President Donald Trump and said the current tax code contain loopholes and does not invest in local communities.

“The facts simply don’t bear him out,” Kat Martin with Tax March Seattle said. “We’ve got ample evidence in this country. We tried it before with Reaganomics. Lowering corporate taxes does nothing to spur job growth.”

The rally started at 7 a.m., about two hours before Ryan started speaking. The group, about 25 people, continued to demonstrate after Ryan's meeting.

Gov. Jay Inslee wrote an open letter to Ryan prior to his visit Thursday.

In the letter, Inslee said that leaders in Washington, D.C., have left the American people frustrated, anxious and angry. He said that something has to change and called on Ryan to use his power to bring it about.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray also released a statement about Ryan's visit.

“I’m glad Speaker Ryan had a chance to hear from workers in Washington state today, and I hope he saw that when workers succeed and have money in their pockets, businesses succeed and the economy succeeds,” Murray said “Unfortunately, from everything we know, it looks like Republicans will use the same playbook they’ve used in the past: pushing tax breaks that would benefit the biggest corporations and the wealthiest Americans -- like President Trump -- who are doing just fine in today’s economy, all while turning their backs on hard-working families. That’s not tax reform, that’s more of the same. When Republicans are willing to come to the table to work with us to actually give relief to the middle class, then I’ll be happy to work with them.”

Ryan's stop in Washington is part of his tour across the country this week to tout his ideas for tax reform.

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