Lockheed Martin’s greed and sense of entitlement in its current attempt at an end-run around the Montgomery County Council to the State House in Annapolis would be surprising, except it’s all too typical for the company.
The world’s largest weapons contractor, which had record sales of more than $47 billion last year (which is twice the gross domestic product of the entire country of Afghanistan, for a reference point), is trying to get the state government to order the county to do something it has twice declined to do, which is to give an annual $1.4 million handout to Lockheed to “reimburse” it for county taxes on a hotel the company owns.
Every other hotel in the county must assess this tax to its patrons, but Lockheed claims its private hotel should be exempt, and wants not only retroactive reimbursement for taxes paid but a subsidy to offset them in the future. Forever.
Moreover, taxpayers already lavishly support Lockheed and its war profiteering on boondoggles such as the F-35 fighter, through our federal taxes that go to the Pentagon and other federal agencies. Almost all of Lockheed’s business is from government contracts, in other words funded by your tax dollars and mine. I’ve never gotten a thank you from Lockheed, have you?
Twice in the last few years, thanks to diligent citizens raising the alarm on Lockheed’s heavy handed lobbying (of the Maryland congressional delegation and the governor) and extortion (including threatening to move its corporate headquarters from Bethesda to Virginia if it didn’t get its way), the county government decided against this naked corporate welfare.
So Lockheed’s “change of venue” move to Annapolis stinks in terms of undercutting local democracy. And on financial terms, why should one of the world’s richest corporations be allowed to shake down county taxpayers? The $1.4 million is petty cash for Lockheed, but is sorely needed for schools, roads, affordable housing and other community priorities.
At a time when governments at all levels are cutting programs aimed at helping people, Montgomery taxpayers can’t be expected to ante up for this giant company. Lockheed executives ought to be ashamed of themselves, but clearly they have none.
Kevin Martin, Silver Spring
The writer is executive director of Peace Action
via Lockheed Martin’s tax break, lobbying | Maryland Gazette.Net .