Saving Sikorsky jobs: A Purely Defensive Act

September 28, 2016


by State Senator Toni Boucher

The players in the deal to retain Sikorsky Aircraft’s 7,750 jobs in Stratford over the next 14 years at a cost of $220 million noted that Connecticut is an expensive state to do business in.

A very expensive state.

“Connecticut was not the cheapest state,” Sikorsky’s President politely said.

Regarding the cost of doing business in Connecticut, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President added, “It’s a $400 million hole we’re trying to fill. Everybody’s got to pitch in.”

On Sep. 28, the legislature convened in special session to vote on the deal. The bill passed overwhelmingly. I voted “yes” as well.

But no one took a victory lap.

Lockheed’s acquisition of Sikorsky provided it with low-cost options to build its legendary helicopters in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Therefore, the Sikorsky vote:

  • Represented a purely defensive act to save nearly 8000 jobs at risk.
  • Should serve as a reminder to all legislators that creating a hospitable climate for all businesses and people should not require such expensive incentive packages.
  • Is a powerful warning about Connecticut’s future and why we need to change course.

As economic development deals go, this was much better than most. The state stands to gain more than it loses in the incentives package. Small businesses in the Sikorsky supply line will benefit across the state. Unfortunately, this deal is already producing a “what about me?” response in the business community, and for good reason.

  • We should be incentivizing growth among all businesses by reducing their costs.
  • Connecticut residents need incentives to stay here by offsetting their increased costs of living and undoing the damage by the majority leadership.
  • We need to reverse course by lowering taxes at every level.
  • We must reduce wasteful government spending in Hartford to reflect what is done in the private sector.
  • Pro-business, pro-taxpayer policies keep and grow jobs and the tax base.

After the Sikorsky bill passed, Republicans proposed extending the discussion to pro-business, pro-taxpayer topics such as:

  • Eliminating rail and bus fare hikes
  • Eliminating the funding for the mileage tax study.
  • Capping state government bonding.
  • Pension reform.

Disappointingly, the majority leadership declined the opportunity for that discussion.

Let’s hope this bipartisan effort to save one of our most important defense manufacturers will lead to a more productive, taxpayer-friendly legislative year.

*Sen. Boucher represents Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton. On the web: .