Just say no to corporate welfare

Dear Editor:

General Dynamics, one of the world’s largest “defense” contractors, and owners of Bath Iron Works (BIW), is once again reaching into the pockets of the people of Maine, hoping to get more of their hard-earned cash. A bill, LD 1781, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer DeChant (D-Bath), would see to it that General Dynamics gets its wish.

Whose interests are being served by LD 1781?

The bill will give BIW, which has already received more than $200 million in state and local tax breaks, another $60 million over the next 20 years. Company officials claim that BIW needs this assistance to remain competitive. But this claim is bogus.

BIW, one of two companies building both Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt-class destroyers for the Navy, received more federal contract dollars in 2017 than in any year since 2011; more than $2 billion! Given this, and the fact that the Navy recently announced its proposal to build 10 more of the Arleigh Burke destroyers over the next four years, it seems that BIW is doing just fine, and will continue to do so!

General Dynamics is doing pretty well too. Its annual revenues are estimated at $31 billion. Between 2013 and 2016, it spent $9.4 billion buying back its own stock. And in 2016, its CEO made $21 million!

Back in 1997, when BIW officials told state officials that it wished to undertake a major modernization of its shipbuilding operation, it stated that “jobs might not survive” without this modernization being subsidized by Maine’s taxpayers. But under this sweetheart deal, BIW has actually downsized, providing considerably less jobs now than it did when the deal was made. This again, begs the question; Who exactly will benefit from another $60 million in tax breaks for BIW?

Very clearly, General Dynamics and BIW are not hurting for cash! Not so the people of Maine, who will be asked to foot the bill. Our elected representatives in Augusta should represent us, the people, and just say “no!” to this corporate welfare.

Russell Wray


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