Thursday, March 22, 2012

MoCo Executive Ike Leggett Seeks $900K Tax Break for Lockheed Martin // ACT NOW: No New Jobs Projected!

UPDATE: A local activist points out that the County Council has scheduled public hearings on these budget proposals at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD.  The dates and times are: 1) TUE 4/10 @ 7:00 pm, 2) WED 4/11 @ 1:30 pm, 3) WED 4/11 7:00 pm, 4) THU 4/12 @ 1:30 pm, and 5) THU 4/12 @ 7:00 pm. You can sign up to testify in advance by calling (240) 777-7803.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? - The Examiner's Rachel Baye reports that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is proposing a $900,000 taxpayer subsidy for defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Notably, the successful multinational company had four back-to-back profitable quarters in 2011, during the recession. Their revenue every quarter last year ranged from $548 million to $698 million. Meanwhile, the County Executive is slashing services for the needy, struggling to find money to revitalize Wheaton, and undermining the county's commitment to smart growth and transit funding. Are they really now proposing taxpayer-funded corporate welfare for Lockheed Martin? REALLY?

Tell the County Council & Economic Development Director Steve Silverman to reject Ike Leggett's proposed waste of tax dollars: The email address below will forward your message to all of them at one time.

Email All 9 Councilmembers & Steve Silverman using the address below:

To be sure, the profitable multi-national company may be facing a reduction in Pentagon contracts -- but the wars had to end eventually, and hopefully they planned for that outcome, like a good corporate manager would, right?  Especially since the troop drawdowns have been discussed for years.

But even putting that aside --  Lockheed is not planning to add any jobs or increase spending in Montgomery County. That leaves many taxpayers wondering what is the purpose of a $900,000 taxpayer giveaway to a wildly profitable company? Can Economic Development Director Steve Silverman offer any articulable economic development or job-creation goals? Can they be backed by any metrics?

There are plenty of small businesses and local employers who are facing issues during the recession, but somehow Lockheed -- which has a much greater ability to weather tough times -- is the proposed recipient of limited County funds. Listen to the ridiculous rationale reported by Ms. Baye in the Examiner:
EXAMINER: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett wants to give Bethesda defense giant Lockheed Martin a $900,000 tax break while raising taxes on residents and businesses.

Leggett proposed the grant in his fiscal 2013 budget to refund two years of county "hotel-motel" taxes, which Lockheed pays for its Center for Leadership Excellence, a 300,000-square-foot conference center and lodging facility that opened in March 2009. The taxes cost Lockheed about $450,000 a year, said county Finance Director Joe Beach.

The tax should not apply to Lockheed Martin because its facility is used for employees only, said company spokesman Chris Williams.

"We can't be in the business of having one of our major corporations believing that the county and the state is treating them in a way they believe is unfair," Leggett said. "It could have them decide that they're not going to build and enhance what they already have here."

Lockheed Martin does not have any current plans to expand, Williams said....

Leggett's new plan is a tax rebate that could be renewed annually.

In addition to the rebate, Leggett's budget proposal includes a property tax increase and energy tax extension, as well as higher bus and parking fees.

Amazing. Can County leaders really be this tone-deaf? We've seen multiple examples of corporate welfare from Maryland politicians for projects where there appears to be little to no provable benefit for taxpayers. Why is this administration hell-bent on giving money away to companies that aren't creating jobs? The Examiner provides a chart of the other amazing uses of MoCo's economic development dollars:

Source:, Rachel Baye "MontCo executive offers Lockheed Martin $900,000 tax break"

ACT NOW - EMAIL YOUR OFFICIALS: It seems the only accountability for this kind of ridiculous waste of tax dollars is political accountability. Maryland Juice has created an email address that allows you to email all nine members of the Montgomery County Council and Economic Development Director Steve Silverman. Please tell them to oppose welfare for Lockheed Martin:

Email the MoCo Councilmembers & 
Economic Development Director Steve Silverman:

"REJECT Welfare for Lockheed Martin" 

  • MoCo Economic Development Director Steve Silverman
  • Councilmember Phil Andrews
  • Councilmember Roger Berliner
  • Councilmember Marc Elrich
  • Councilmember Valerie Ervin
  • Councilmember Nancy Floreen
  • Councilmember George Leventhal
  • Councilmember Nancy Navarro
  • Councilmember Craig Rice
  • Councilmember Hans Riemer

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