Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Day 21: Professor Delogu on giving BIW/GD $60 million



By Orlando Delogu

1.  This legislation was not a legislative carry-over; it was not the product of Legislative committee or Executive office thinking.  GD/BIW and its legal lobbyists drafted LD 1781 in early January.  It was rammed into the short 2nd session by the leadership in violation of legislative rules.  The talking points for sponsors of this LD come directly from these same corporate lobbyists.

2.  The legislation talks of preserving jobs, but it allows employment to sink from present levels (approx. 5,500) to below 4,000 and they still get the money.

3.  The legislation talks of $100 million of new investment, but defines new investment so broadly that almost all shipbuilding expenses qualify as “new investment.”  It assumes we can’t see through this scam.

4.  Amendments breaking this tax give-away into two $30 million packages change none of the substantive provisions—GD/BIW still winds up with $60 million in two bites instead of one.

5. The veiled threat that GD/BIW is in a competitive market and may leave Maine if this subsidy is not granted permeates every discussion of LD 1781—IT’S A LIE unless one assumes that GD/BIW is prepared to walk away from a $500 million operating plant, a 10 year backlog of work, a trained work force, and extraordinary profits that will extend far into the future ($3 billion in 2017).  COMMON SENSE SAYS NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

As for competition—BIW and Ingalls have divided navy ship building contracts for decades; they will continue to do so.  That’s what the navy wants.

6.  In the face of these realities, the hubris of the corporation’s demand for $60 million from relatively poor Maine Taxpayers is best seen in the CEO’s $21 million annual salary, and her boast, “Boeing makes airplanes, GD/BIW makes profits.”   Yes they do—obscene profits.

In short, Maine needs the $60 million far more than GD/BIW.  Every fact cries out for a NO vote on LD 1781, or a veto by the Governor who continually touts his fiscal responsibility.  If our political leaders can’t find the courage to say NO, a people’s veto is surely in order.      

~ Orlando Delogu of Portland is emeritus professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law and a longtime public policy consultant to federal, state, and local government agencies and officials.

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