Utah has a long history of helping McDonnell Douglas operate here.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the state put together special employee training programs at the Salt Lake Community College. Over a three-year period, more than 500 people were trained specifically for jobs at McDonnell Douglas.But the biggest help came in 1991.

In late 1990, McDonnell Douglas announced that it was going to lay off up to 17,000 workers nationwide. The layoffs came as the Cold War ended and the Defense Department announced it wasn't going to build several new generations of fighters and bombers.

At about the same time, MD announced that it was going to spend up to $1.6 million to expand it's operations near the Salt Lake International Airport. Only 10 of about 680 Utah workers were going to be laid off as part of the firm's defense downsizing.

However, only a couple of months later MD and then-Utah Gov. Norm Bangerter asked the 1991 Legislature - during the final two weeks of the session - to approve a $10 million loan to the firm. Otherwise, MD leaders said, it may have to move out of Utah all together and put its assembly plant in Long Beach, Calif.

Democrats and some Republican lawmakers balked, calling the loan "blackmail."

Then-Democratic Sen. Rex Black quizzed MD officials in a heated caucus. After aircraft executives said the new jobs would pay $12 an hour, Black said it wasn't smart for Utah to give a $10 million loan for jobs that paid $25,000 a year.

But a compromise was found. A new $10 million Industrial Loan Fund was created, and MD would be allowed to draw up to $8.3 million out of the fund. Payback and loan amounts depended on how many jobs were created directly by MD and by how many Utah subcontractors were hired.

MD operations never did reach the levels company officials predicted. However, within two years MD had borrowed $4.3 million from the fund at an interest rate of 10 percent.

Further criticism of the loan program started in 1992 as MD started laying off workers in Utah.