HARTFORD, CT — United Technologies Corporation offered no indication during a call with investors Monday morning that Connecticut’s state budget or business climate had anything to do with their decision to move their corporate headquarters to Boston.
But that doesn’t mean its merger with Raytheon won’t be couched in one way or another by the state’s partisans.
The new merged company, which combines the largest defense manufacturer with the largest aerospace manufacturer, will be called Raytheon Technologies Corp. and the headquarters will be outside of Boston.
An estimated 100 employees at UTC’s headquarters in Farmington will make the move, but more than 19,000 manufacturing jobs will stay in Connecticut.
“This does not mean we’re exiting operations in Connecticut and moving to Boston,” UTC Chairman and CEO Greg Hayes said Monday morning on a conference call with investors. “In fact, Raytheon Technologies will maintain a strong presence in Connecticut for years to come.”
“This is not going to affect our businesses really anywhere,” Hayes said.
He said they are on track to hire 10,000 people this year at UTC and Raytheon also plans to hire about 10,000 new employees.
Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said the budget the Democratic majority passed on June 4 increased pension debt by $3.5 billion and still didn’t deal with the unfunded pension liabilities.
He said regardless of whether UTC said anything about Connecticut’s political climate in making its decision to move its corporate headquarters, as a business it’s something they have to think about.
“Whether they started this business decision six months ago after the election, or a year ago, the bottom line is they want to see long-term sustainability for the state of Connecticut,” Candelora said. “And for the last 10 years Democrats haven’t demonstrated that long-term stability.”
He said it’s been 10 years of bad decisions and eight years of negative growth.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said UTC/Raytheon will continue to be a very strong presence in terms of employment in the state of Connecticut.
Looney said Republicans are going to continue to say “the sky is falling just like they did with GE.”
He said General Electric’s decision to move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston in 2016 had more to do with “the fact that suburban leafy campuses were going out of fashion.”
“It’s a matter of Boston being a magnet of all kinds,” Looney said. “If we were looking at a move to Worcester, Springfield, or Chicopee we would have more reason to be concerned.”
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said “this is a business making a business decision. They’ve never said anything negative about the state.”
He said the bulk of the jobs are staying in Connecticut and the state will continue to compete for jobs because it has one of the most productive workforces in the nation.
“It’s a great place to do business,” Duff added.
Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, said UTC subsidiary Pratt & Whitney is currently hiring workers, and also that Connecticut has a manufacturing pipeline and supplier chain that can’t be replicated.
“For sure they are not going anywhere,” Osten said.
Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the decision to move a headquarters location after a merger is complicated.
“Would we rather have the headquarters here in Connecticut? Absolutely,” Brennan said. “But the important thing is we are keeping virtually all the 19,000 plus jobs for UTC here in Connecticut.”
He said there’s going to be a lot of attention paid to where the headquarters are because other headquarters have left Connecticut over the years, “but we still think Connecticut is a great location for a company headquarters.”
Brennan said Connecticut’s leaders have to remind themselves how competitive the world is and “work even harder to create the climate here so when those decisions are made about what are you going to call the company, and where are you going to locate it, that Connecticut wins more than it loses.”
In 2014, the General Assembly approved a deal that gave UTC access to $400 million in unused tax credits to expand facilities and cut their tax liability.
That deal did not include Otis or Carrier, which UTC will spin off by the end of the year, but it did commit Pratt & Whitney to the state for 15 years.
Through June 2017, UTC had earned $245 million of the $400 million in authorized tax credits for exchange. Two years remain for them to earn the balance, according to a Department of Economic and Community Development