Corporate welfare



To the Editor:

The Legislature is at the moment considering handing over $60 million in funds that are much needed in Maine, not to the people of the state, but to a giant corporation. LD 1781 proposes to give Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of Fortune 500 company General Dynamics, a healthy dose of corporate welfare over the next 20 years, just as it has been getting for the past 20 years.

BIW says it needs the money to “stay competitive” with a shipyard in Mississippi. This doesn’t hold up, given the Navy’s clearly evidenced desire to have both shipyards operating at full throttle. It’s more than clear that BIW’s 10-year work backlog and new contracts aren’t going to be disappearing or going anywhere else.

General Dynamics’s profits last year amounted to $3 billion, a level that has held up for years. Its CEO took home $21 million last year. How hard up can a company be that has almost $3 billion cash on hand while having in recent years bought back $13 billion of its own stock?

Rep. Jennifer DeChant, LD 1781’s sponsor, has been working closely with BIW’s management in crafting the bill, as shown by her emails. She’s requested talking points from them, and now that statewide opposition to the bill is growing, she’s modified it to ask for $30 million over 10 years, renewable for another 10, with additional reporting requirements. Given that 30 plus 30 still equals 60, and BIW stonewalled requests at the bill’s hearing for information on finances and jobs, this is hardly a compromise or improvement.

With military spending on the rise and the recent massive federal corporate tax cut, General Dynamics doesn’t need that $60 million. It’s chicken feed to them, but huge to us in Maine.

I hope everyone will ask their legislators – Brian Langley and Brian Hubbell or Walter Kumiega or Louie Luchini for most of us – to not only vote against LD 1781, but push to defeat it.

Dick Atlee

Southwest Harbor

 

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