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CT Taxpayers Keep Paying for Booming Defense Industry

December 5, 2017 By Staff
CT Taxpayers Keep Paying for Booming Defense Industry

Connecticut legislators have long been pumping taxpayer subsidies into businesses to stave off various firms from exiting the state.

Overwhelmingly, Sikorsky’s union workers have approved a new contract which includes a “10 percent wage increase”:

Members of Local 1150 of the Teamsters union voted 2,098 to 66 Sunday in favor of the agreement, which includes a 10 percent wage increase over the life of the contract and $4,000 in signing bonuses, union officials said. The company also agreed to a 15 percent increase in the pension multiplier and a 20 percent increase to the case balance pension.

Sikorsky, a division of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, has enjoyed the thriving defense industry under President Donald Trump, while Connecticut especially has seen a boom in defense contracts.

Electric Boat (EB), another Connecticut-based defense firm, has been in a “hiring frenzy” since landing its own major government contracts:

Faced with demand to build more submarines and replace retiring baby boomers, EB is halfway to its goal of hiring 2,000 workers this year, with about 1,200 split evenly between Groton and Quonset Point, R.I.

Amid the boom, Connecticut legislators have long been pumping taxpayer subsidies into businesses to stave off various firms from exiting the state. In 2016, the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA), in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, gave $220 million in “financial incentives” to Sikorsky:

The General Assembly gave bipartisan backing Wednesday to a $220 million deal to keep Sikorsky Aircraft building a new line of helicopters in Connecticut until at least 2032, but it came with election year criticism by Republicans of fiscal and economic development policies of the Democratic-run legislature and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

In 2016, Rep. John Shaban (R-Redding) called the Sikorsky package a “bribe,” and Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington), who was the lone senator to vote against the deal, called it “crony capitalism”:

Rep. John Shaban, R-Redding, called the Sikorsky package a bribe to keep business from leaving Connecticut. “We need to create a stable tax and regultory structure,” said Shaban, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes for the 4th Congressional District seat. Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, who cast the only Senate vote against the deal, called it “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare” for large businesses with powerful connections in the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, the state heads into 2018 with a projected $200 million-plus deficit:

“The state comptroller is projecting a deficit of more than $207 million for Connecticut for the fiscal year 2018, which would require the governor to submit a deficit mitigation plan, and legislative leaders plan to meet with Gov. Dannel Malloy Wednesday to talk about what comes next.”

It can be hard to understand why taxpayers are left funding a booming industry, especially while the recently-passed, $41.3 billion state budget raised taxes and cut services for yet another year.