A black eye for Maryland in this year’s General Assembly session is the new corporate welfare law written specifically for Lockheed Martin: This law exempts the company’s posh Center for Leadership Excellence from the county’s 7 percent lodging tax, costing Montgomery County $4.5 million during the next decade. The law affects no other facility in the state.
In addition to opposition by the Montgomery County Council, many organizations publicly opposed the bill prior to its passage, including these: Montgomery County Young Democrats, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, Fund Our Communities coalition, SEIU Local 500, NAACP, Common Cause, Progressive Maryland, MCEA, IAFF Local 1004 Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters, Progressive Neighbors, Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Pax Christi, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 and Peace Action Montgomery.
It is galling that Montgomery County now will be forced to rewrite its local tax law at the behest of the state despite the unfairness of the law and the opposition of the majority of people in the county.
At the same time that the state legislature has exempted this multibillion-dollar company from a tax that is essentially a rounding error for it, the county’s taxpayers just contributed to Lockheed Martin, via our 2012 Federal taxes, $67.5 million to development costs of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive weapons system in the history of the world and one which is designed for enemies that we no longer face.
For the same amount of money that our county’s taxpayers contributed last year to the F-35 boondoggle, Montgomery County could instead have provided 35,420 households in the county with renewable solar energy (photovoltaic) for one year.
It is grossly unfair and undemocratic for the legislature to write special laws at the behest of multibillion-dollar corporations that spend vast amounts of money in lobbying and campaign contributions while the rest of us, without the kind of access such spending affords, pay our taxes.
Rick Sullivan, Kensington