Maine Currents 3/20/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

Opposition to Maine Taxpayers Funding “Corporate Welfare” for Military Contractor General Dynamics

In February we reported on a proposal to give a $60 million tax break to Bath Iron Works at the expense of Maine taxpayers. Those who support the measure say it protects jobs, but those who oppose it see it as corporate welfare for defense contractor General Dynamics, the company that owns BIW. Today we follow up with some of the activists involved in the issue, including Bruce Gagnon who was with us last month, as well as Bob Klotz and Lisa Savage. We’re also joined by Alex Nunes, an investigative reporter at nunesweekly.com. He has exposed details about what is going on behind the scenes of this deal. Columnist Lawrence Reichard, joins us in the studio. He’s covered the issue in his weekly column “Bricks and Mortars” which runs in the Waldo County based Republican Journal and the Coastal Journal in Bath.

Later in the program we check in with Jessica Stewart, one of 3 women who were arrested at Senator Collin’s office last December where they were protesting her support of the tax bill. They are heading to federal court tomorrow.

Note: Activist Mark Roman was scheduled to be with us but was unable to join us due to technical difficulties. He sent the following comment:
“In the taxation committee testimony, BIW VP, John Fitzgerald was asked by a committee member if he would open BIW books to the committee to help determine the need for the tax break. Mr Fitzgerald said quite loudly and quite clearly NO! we will not do that. It seems that the state is not to question the subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation, the fifth largest weapons maker on the planet. The $45 million being requested would just cover the annual compensation of the top four officers of General Dynamics. I believe that the people of Maine need that money for education, infrastructure repairs and health care for our citizens. I would ask listeners to call their representatives and tell them to vote no on LD- 1781. I want to thank WERU for being the voice of the people”

FMI:
Follow the proposed legislation at: legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280067362
Contact info for your legislators is available at: legislature.maine.gov/

To receive Lawrence Reichard’s “Bricks and Mortars” column via email, contact him at lreichard@gmail.com

From Alex Nunes of www.nunesweekly.com:
Here are a few links that may be of interest to your audience.
This is the original General Dynamics stock buyback story for The Providence Journal: www.providencejournal.com/news/20171103/defense-firms-spend-big-on-lucrative-stock-buybacks
This is an op-ed I wrote for The Day newspaper in New London, Conn., about General Dynamics seeking state subsidies in New England. I talk about Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine: www.theday.com/article/20180204/OP03/180209865
These are two stories from a multi-part series about economic development in Rhode Island and Connecticut centered around building the Navy’s next generation of nuclear-armed submarines. The first story addresses the corporate welfare/economic development aspects of it. The second looks at the reaction from the peace community:
www.providencejournal.com/news/20170915/ri-invests-millions-for-job-training-in-public-private-partnership-with-eb
www.providencejournal.com/news/20170915/question-beneath-electric-boats-ascent-why-do-we-need-these-ships

Investigative reporting from The Bollard was also mentioned on the show and can be found here: thebollard.com/2018/02/06/ship-of-fools/

Bruce Gagnon blogs at space4peace.blogspot.com/
Lisa Savage blogs at went2thebridge.blogspot.com/

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