The General Assembly will be asked to return to Hartford in the next few weeks to vote on a $220 million deal to ensure Lockheed Martin keeps Sikorsky headquarters in Connecticut for more than a decade.
The deal announced late Tuesday afternoon by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would require the company to increase its full-time employment in Connecticut by more than 8,000 by 2032. It will also, as part of the proposed deal, nearly double its spending of $350 million per year with local Connecticut suppliers and increase its capital spending for machinery and equipment by 22 percent.
In exchange, the state will give Lockheed up to $8.6 million annually over the 14-year agreement if they meet certain benchmarks in job growth, payroll spending, and use of in-state suppliers. It will also exempt sales and use tax up to $5.7 million a year, and if the company exceeds it target of creating 100 to 550 jobs in any given year it will be eligible for a performance incentive grant of up to $1.9 million, for a total of $20 million.
The deal, which also will have to be approved by the local Teamsters union, ensures that Sikorsky will build nearly 200 CH-53K King Stallion Helicopters at its production facility in Stratford. The helicopter is becoming the world’s premier heavy lift model and, according to the Malloy administration, Lockheed Martin has considered numerous other states for its production.
“This is a significant deal with wide-reaching ramifications,” Malloy said Tuesday. “It ensures that great manufacturing jobs — thousands of them — will remain in Connecticut, and that Sikorsky’s extraordinary record will continue to flourish for years and years to come right here at home.”
The deal was applauded by Connecticut’s congressional delegation and Senate President Martin Looney and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff.
“This deal is a win for Connecticut, Sikorsky, and workers up and down the supply chain,” Connecticut’s congressional delegation said in a statement. “The biggest news is that the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, which could have been assembled outside of Connecticut, will now be made in Stratford. This helicopter represents the future of Sikorsky’s production line, so it cements the company’s presence in Stratford for decades to come.”
Connecticut lawmakers, who in 2014 approved a unique deal with United Technologies Corp. that allows the company to use up to $400 million in unused tax credits to reduce their tax liability, will have to act before Oct. 7 in order for Lockheed Martin to meet U.S. Department of Defense production requirements. Sikorsky, which had previously been owned by United Technologies Corp. and was part of the 2014 deal was sold to Lockheed Martin in November 2015 for $9 billion.
“In a global economy, this company could have chosen to move anywhere in the world but it chose to remain in Connecticut,” Looney said.
He said it proves that the educational investments the state is making in advanced manufacturing career and training programs for workers is paying off and will continue into the future.
Duff said what the deal really means is that “Connecticut kids can go to school knowing that they’ll have jobs available to them right here in Connecticut when they graduate.”
Looney said it’s also a “landmark victory” for small business and machine shops across the entire supply chain.