General Dynamics (which owns Bath Iron Works) is embarking on a statewide public relations campaign to ask the state legislature in Maine for a $60 million tax break over the next 20 years for its operation in Bath.

At the same time, General Dynamics is seeking similar operating subsidies from Rhode Island and Connecticut for their submarine production facility at Electric Boat. This all comes on top of the expected major corporate tax cuts pushed through by the Republican-controlled Congress in Washington.

Already over many years, General Dynamics has received more than $200 million in state and local tax breaks for BIW. In 2013, General Dynamics asked for another $6 million tax break from the City of Bath, but a local citizens’ campaign persuaded the city council to reduce that to $3 million.

Now General Dynamics is back to ask an already financially strapped state of Maine for an additional $60 million. How badly does General Dynamics need the money? Not at all!

General Dynamics spent $9.4 billion between 2013 and 2016 buying back its own stocks. William Lazonick, an economist at UMASS-Lowell and an expert on stock buybacks says, “I think, as taxpayers, we’re being taken for fools. At a minimum, I would have a rule saying, ‘You’re not getting any subsidies if you’re doing buybacks. You’re showing us you don’t need the money.’”

General Dynamics last year paid CEO Phebe Novakovic $21 million which included a $5 million bonus.

Before General Dynamics gets any more state taxpayer dollars, it should be required to begin a transition process to build commuter rail systems, tidal power and offshore wind turbines to help us deal with our real problem – global warming.

We have the right, and the responsibility, to speak out and demand this nonsense stops now. We are handing a collapsing nation, facing the ravages of global warming, to our children and grandchildren. The least we can do is call upon our state legislators to go to Augusta and say no to General Dynamics. Enough is enough.

Let General Dynamics take back some of the extravagant pay increases and bonuses from its top executives before it comes poor-mouthing to our already financially barren state treasury.

Bruce Gagnon
Maine Veterans For Peace