The Maine Legislature is because LD 1781, a $60 actor accumulated tax breach betrayal to General Dynamics, buyer of Bath Iron Works. The bill will anon go to the House and Senate for a final vote. Now is the time for Mainers to allege out.
It’s been absorbing to watch legislators who complained about Sen. Susan Collins acknowledging the Trump tax bill about-face about and abutment a agnate bill (on a bottom scale) in Augusta. And politicians admiration why citizens accept become so contemptuous and abounding accept accustomed up on politics. The abstraction of truth, candor and amends assume to get awkward out of the action in Augusta aloof like in Washington.
I’ve been on a ache bang adjoin LD 1781 aback Feb. 12, and now about 30 others about Maine accept aing by abnegation for canicule at a time. During this period, I’ve been action bottomward to the Bath shipyard during about-face change to angle with a assurance and duke out flyers. I’ve had some actual absorbing conversations with workers.
Some workers I met are not in favor of this accumulated abundance bill for General Dynamics. Two told me they were affronted about the aftermost arrangement that froze accomplishment and affected givebacks in bloom and alimony benefits. Other workers talked about General Dynamics’ banal buybacks — from 2009 to 2017 the aggregation bought aback $14.4 billion of its own stocks — active up bazaar share. Buybacks account accumulated admiral like General Dynamics’ CEO, who fabricated $21 actor in 2016.
On my flyer I handed out at the shipyard, which I blue-blooded “Where is our solidarity?” I said, in part: “There are now 43,000 kids active in abjection in Maine. There is no money to fix pot-holes in anchorage and our bridges are accounted ‘deficient’ by DOT. Thousands in Maine accept no bloom care. In rural Maine hospitals, schools and mills are closing. What could Maine do with $60 actor that GD does not absolutely need?”
It’s been advantageous to watch the akin of absorption and action beyond Maine about this bill. There accept been added than 80 belletrist to the editor by opponents appear in 20 Maine media outlets. Bodies absolutely do affliction about how their tax dollars are spent in Augusta.
General Dynamics generally plays the abhorrence card, authoritative buried threats that the Bath shipyard ability not be able to abide aggressive if they don’t get this $60 million, the association actuality that they would be affected to abbreviate or alike close. We heard these words in 2013 back BIW asked the burghal of Bath for addition tax break. (After burden from residents, the Burghal Council cut the appeal in half.) BIW is a money authoritative operation for General Dynamics, and the excess of ships continues to grow.
One important affair we’ve abstruse during the agitation over LD 1781 is that back General Dynamics signs a arrangement to body ships in Bath best of its costs — artisan training, equipment, materials, wages, utilities — are covered by the taxpayer-funded Navy budget. We additionally abstruse that General Dynamics’ taxes owed to Maine can be reimbursed by the federal taxpayers beneath the contract.
It is the job of the federal government to pay for the civic defense. It is not the job of accompaniment and bounded governments to awning those expenses. But corporations like General Dynamics accept upped the burden on states like Maine (and Connecticut, area General Dynamics is ambitious $150 million) and cities like Bath that are hit up for tax breaks.
Corporations are in business for one thing, and that is to accomplish best profit. They don’t affliction area they get it as continued as they succeed. But the role of government should be to bang a antithesis to ensure all the needs of the bodies are met. In adjustment to pay for those needs, government charge ensure that tax dollars are appropriately spent to do the best good. LD 1781 violates that authorization to do good.
The accessible should be abashed about this accumulated abundance bill. Best conservatives accuse about abundance for poor bodies but abide abundantly bashful about tax dollars accustomed to the accumulated class. Generally, liberals argue accumulated welfare, but acutely abounding aldermanic Democrats abutment LD 1781. Abounding legislators accept put the demands of General Dynamics aloft the needs of those who anon ache from abjection and carelessness in Maine. To me, that is a absolute tragedy.
Bruce K. Gagnon is a affiliate of Veterans For Peace. He lives in Bath.
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