The politicians and industry officials were beaming. The media was singing their praises. The Connecticut General Assembly had just voted to give Lockheed Martin $220 million in public funds.
The question was not whether Lockheed Martin was going to get paid for producing a new line of helicopters. The question was whether, in addition to payment and excessive profits, a state government would pay the Lockheed Martin Corporation even more money in return for a promise that the company would produce those machines in their state.
And Lockheed Martin found a willing partner in the form of Governor Dannel Malloy and the members of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Yesterday, Connecticut’s elected officials voted – almost unanimously – to give Lockheed Martin $220 million in corporate welfare. Counting principal and interest, the cost to Connecticut taxpayers will exceed a quarter of a billion dollars over the next twenty years.
In return, Lockhead Martin, a $50 Billion a year company, has promised to keep Sikorsky’s headquarters in Connecticut for at least a decade, add up to 550 new jobs at the Sikorsky plant and build some new helicopters here in the state.
The underlying threat was that If Connecticut’s taxpayers didn’t cough up the blood money, Lockheed Martin would retaliate by moving the Sikorsky work to a factory in another state or overseas.
And the $220 million taxpayers will be paying?
As Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Marilyn Hewson made in excess of $29 million in 2015. Her pay and benefits topped $106 million over the past five years. Meanwhile, the top five Lockheed Martin corporate officers pulled in approximately $62 million in pay and benefits last year.
That $220 million that Connecticut taxpayers are donating to the company barely equates to what the top five corporate officials have made over the last five years.
But Connecticut’s elected officials weren’t talking about padding the salaries of Lockheed Martin’s executives yesterday, instead they were patting themselves on the back for agreeing to the deal.
Governor Dannel Malloy crowed about the gift Connecticut was making to one of the most profitable members of the military-industrial complex saying,
“Competition in today’s worldwide economic climate is fierce, and Connecticut is showing that we remain a valued leader where businesses can maintain a competitive edge well into the future,”
Meanwhile, State Senator Catherine Osten, (D-Sprague), celebrated the deal calling it, “an unalloyed piece of good news,” and stating,
“I’m more than happy to support this deal. I think it’s a great day. I think it’s a turning point in Connecticut.”
Maintaining a competitive edge? The development is an unalloyed piece of good news?
To reiterate the obvious, this was not about whether Lockheed Martin was going to get paid to build a new line of helicopters. Not only were public and private funds paying for the helicopters, but Lockheed Martin was always going to make a massive profit on each unit.
The reference to the so-called competitive climate was simply a question of which state – or country – was willing to pay Lockheed Martin above and beyond their costs and profits in order to “win” the company’s benign neglect.
In January 1960, President Eisenhower warned us of the danger of the Military-Industrial Complex.
Yesterday, we saw that more than fifty-five years later, there were only 7 out of 187 members of the Connecticut General Assembly who had the courage and conviction to stand up to that political cabal.
Voting against the horrendous deal…
Republican State Senator Markley and Republican State Representatives Ackert, Belsito, Dubitksy, France, Sampson and Smith.
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