Monday, March 26, 2018

Stop This Nonsense! Maine Natural Guard Members Sound Off On Tax Giveaway To Wealthy Corporation

There have been some cracking good letters written during the campaign opposing corporate welfare bill LD1781. Maine Natural Guard members in particular have done a fine job, and I thought I would share some of their messages today in advance of citizen lobbying on Tuesday, March 27 in Augusta.

Darth Vader will be in the Maine State House this week lobbying against corporate welfare for General Dynamics

From the ever articulate MB in The Forecaster:

Thanks to Orlando Delogu for his information and clarity that proposed legislation LD 1781 is a bill to oppose (“Policy Wonk: 10 reasons why BIW tax break is a bad deal”). This bill commits to give $3 million a year for the next 10 or 20 years from Maine’s tax dollars to General Dynamics, owner of Bath Iron Works, in spite of the fact that GD has moved up into the Fortune 100 because of its huge annual profits.
Most legislators from both political parties are inclined to pass Maine’s tax dollars on to General Dynamics, a Virginia-based corporation. Maine legislators express a fear that GD will pack up and move somewhere else and we will lose 5,700 jobs in our state. I don’t buy it, and I find the argument insulting to BIW’s workforce. If BIW’s motto is true that “Bath built is best built,” it’s not credible that $3 million a year would make BIW less competitive, or would make its parent company abandon this shipyard.
Tell your legislators that you have a better use for $3 million a year. Personally, I’m thinking that money would be better spent housing people who are homeless. What is your idea? Don’t be shy; tell your legislator. Without your voice, they will not have the courage or incentive to stand up to General Dynamics.

Mary Beth Sullivan


This is one from a constituent to state Rep. Brownie Carson:

Hello again Brownie,

I will be brief and direct as I usually am.   This 'stunt' General Dynamics is trying to pull while using a vulnerable, innocent Ms Dechant is nothing more than predator capitalism.

General Dynamics is presently trying to pull the same trick in Connecticut.

General Dynamics is a very, very wealthy corporation who apparently lacks morals or ethics.  G. Dynamics should not even be considering this however, only for if they can pull a trick off like this…hey,  they are greedy,  they will take any dollars they can get whether they need it or not.

Trying to sell a package of  'empty words'  to the public and legislature is simply a con game…that so many businesses small and large would try if they thought they had a good chance.  The larger the corporation,  the more they appear as a threatening, authority figure that gets everyone nervous and for many people,  the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in.  Essentially support the villain and victimize those who are being preyed upon!

Even if Maine citizens turned over all the assets…if G.D. thinks they can save money by laying people off…they will with no hesitation!

The reality is,  BIW is an antiquated eye-sore that Maine should have transcended long ago.  Making war ships while the planet is in environmental and human turmoil is nothing to be proud of.  The fact is, Maine should have been preparing long ago for employment alternatives!

Joseph Ciarrocca
Brunswick, Maine

This is a letter to the editor published last month in the Portland Press Herald:

A number of years ago, I resolved the issue that many of us wrestle with when faced with a destitute person on the street asking for money. Do we try to size this person up, presume to know what they’ll buy with the money – Big Mac? Crack? Thunderbird? – and then fish out pocket change or not, all the time feeling morally queasy?

Then I read a quote from this country’s essential big-hearted man of all seasons, Walt Whitman, who said, “Give alms to anyone who asks.” Simple. If a person is reduced to begging on the street and you have no idea what brought that person there, help them out if you can. Every time. No moral indignation. No judgments.

But what if that person were sitting in the back seat of a Mercedes stretch limo, the tinted glass down just enough to allow a glimpse of the Armani suit while a leather-gloved hand extends in supplication. A boardroom voice demands, “Give me $60 million or I’ll move to Mississippi!”

Well, folks, even Uncle Walt would say rules are made to be broken when the panhandler is General Dynamics. General Dynamics is a con, a corporate extractor who will keep taking from the poor to feed the rich until we say NO.

It should boggle any Mainer’s decent mind that L.D. 1781 is even being considered with a straight face. Our Legislature says to General Dynamics, “Yes, please rob us so we don’t have to feed our poor children or provide health care or fix our roads or pay our teachers.” Really?

Stop this nonsense!

Robert Shetterly

And, here's the last op-ed from PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick that will be published in the Times Record. Their editor, John Swinconeck, has canceled their widely-read monthly column after refusing Bruce Gagnon's submission (later published here by the Bangor Daily News).

An Opportunity for Choosing People Over Profit


The Maine Legislature will soon be making a decision in our names. Their choice will determine how much tax money is available for meeting the social and infrastructure needs of our state. I wonder if they’ve heard your thoughts on the subject?

A tax subsidy bill (LD 1781) would give General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works a $3 million tax credit every year for the next 20 years or, if amended, for the next 10 years and then very likely renewed for another 10 years. That’s $3 million a year not paid into our state treasury.
There have been scores of columns and letters written to papers all over the state opposing the bill. As a result we’ve had a close look at the numbers and they make it clear that this is not a case of need but a gift of corporate welfare. GD/BIW is not in need of more financial support from the people of Maine. On the contrary, General Dynamics is the third largest Defense Contractor in the world and is already funded by each one of us with our federal tax dollars. The Pentagon takes 54-plus cents of every one of our discretionary dollars. And since there is no oversight of their budget, we can’t know how or how wisely that money is spent.
The numbers we haven’t seen are the ones BIW’s VP John Fitzgerald refuses to disclose. Here is some back and forth from last week’s Work Session where the Taxation Committee began to grapple with the bill:
Sen. Justin Chenette (D-Saco) asked, “I’m not understanding why the investment of $60 million can’t come from your parent company? In order for me to make decisions I need a commitment from you [BIW] to disclose the profits of the company.”
Fitzgerald responded emphatically: “The answer is no.”
That would seem to me to be the end of the discussion! What bank would offer credit to a non-disclosing client?
There is so much that could be said about how fear is used to keep us looking at our feet rather than into our hearts where we can know what are appropriate policies for maintaining a sustainable and people centered economy.
Workers are kept in line by being made afraid of losing their jobs.
Senators and Congressional Representatives are bought with corporate generosity that must be repaid in votes on the floor.
You and I are too often afraid of not knowing enough about political issues to speak up intelligently and so we remain silent even though we know in our hearts what’s right and what is simply not.
And without our voices the ugly military machine grinds on.
PeaceWorks is a local organization that stands firmly for making non-violent, fair and sensible choices. It is not surprising, then, that we oppose this kind of subsidy for the already ultra-rich especially when their daily work is to create weapon systems capable of delivering nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. We are pleased that Maine’s leading climate change group has joined us in acknowledging the clear connection between the quest for domination of the planets energy resources and the huge carbon footprint of the military. 350 Maine concurs in opposing LD 1781.
We urge you to contact your state representative and senator and let them know your views. Ask them to make a decision from the heart, not out of fear. Let us all act in solidarity with those who work at Bath Iron Works. They deserve to be a respected voice in the decision making at BIW. They deserve to use their skills to build products that support rather than destroy.
PeaceWorks sees Bath Iron Works as a builder of offshore wind turbines, solar infrastructure, light rail transportation, tidal power systems and hospital ships that help alleviate the suffering from devastating climate events that are already happening and that are increasing at a frightening rate. We must project this vision if we want to support our future generations. Opposing this tax bill is a valuable opportunity for choosing people over profit.
Rosalie Paul is a member of PeaceWorks. She lives in Brunswick.
If you'd like to send a message to Maine legislators, here is a handy tool to help.

If you'd like to join the Maine Natural Guard, go to our website. 

No comments: