Monday, January 29, 2018

Letter: 'No Plausible Reason' For Maine Taxpayers To Contribute Even More To Enhance General Dynamics’ Bottom Line

Here's the latest on General Dyamics' tax giveaway legislation. The first item is a letter to the editor from Mary Beth Sullivan who often speaks and writes about the survival imperative of conversion. She would like to see the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard in her town converted to producing life-sustaining products like trains or sustainable energy systems -- rather than the weapons of mass destruction that are built there now.

No need for Maine taxpayers to subsidize BIW
Rep. Jennifer DeChant, a Democratic state lawmaker from Bath, has submitted L.D. 1781 for consideration in Augusta this legislative session. This bill would provide $60 million, over 20 years, in tax subsidies to Bath Iron Works, owned by General Dynamics.

General Dynamics is a wealthy corporation, sitting within the top 100 of the Fortune 500 companies. In 2016, according to Morningstar, the corporation’s top five executives received more than $42 million in compensation.

Maine is not a wealthy state; the list of unmet needs includes a crumbling physical infrastructure, the costs to expand MaineCare, people living with hunger and without housing in our midst and an opiate crisis, to name a few of the key issues.

Bath Iron Works contracts to make expensive naval destroyers, at costs of $4 billion to $7 billion each. Each ship is fully paid for with federal tax dollars, and a healthy profit margin is built in for General Dynamics. In Washington, D.C., Republicans just passed a hefty tax reduction for corporations, which will surely contribute to General Dynamics’ profit margins. There is no plausible reason for Maine taxpayers to contribute even more from our state coffers to enhance General Dynamics’ bottom line.

Please express your opposition to L.D. 1781 to your local legislators. Come to the Taxation Committee hearing in Augusta at 1 p.m. Jan. 30 to show your opposition. Enough is enough!
Mary Beth Sullivan

And here is a link to an investigative piece by local reporter Nathan Strout in the Times Record, about the spotty history of tax giveawaysand their results: Impact of previous tax breaks at BIW unclear. Strout has the day of the hearing wrong -- Wednesday is actually a Taxation Committee work session on LD1781, which the public may witness but not participate in. The public hearing where taxpayers can weigh in is on Tuesday, i.e. tomorrow.

Finally (because I have to get ready for work) here is a link to a report by Alex Nunes about General Dynamics, owner of Bath Iron Works, gloating over their recent tax bonanza from the federal government. General Dynamics' CEO Calls Republican Tax Law A 'Happy Event' gives a flavor of just how much this corporation is swimming in cash and does not need corporate welfare from Maine, where 40% of children live in poverty.

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