Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Corporate Welfare for Northrop

It's nothing new, and both Republicans and Democrats do it, but it's still corporate welfare.

The latest, trumpeted as a feather in Bob McDonnell's cap (covering that lustrous hair of his), is the announcement that Northrop Grumman will be moving it's corporate headquarters to Northern Virginia.

The cost to the Commonwealth's taxpayers: $14 million.

Is it worth it? Let's see. The move only includes about 300 jobs, mostly of highly pampered executives who have been rumored to be seeking country club memberships in the incentives being offered for the move. These won't be new jobs for out-of-work Virginians--these will be executives moving here from California.

Northrop already employs tens of thousands of Virginians where the real jobs action is: in its manufacturing plants. Those jobs were not at stake.

So, $14 million for 300 people--hey, that's a nifty $50,000 apiece. What business in the Commonwealth wouldn't want a benefit like that? Heck, Governor McDonnell, why not devote the entire state budget to getting businesses here for $50 grand per employee--we bet it would work!

Of course, Northrop Grumman will generate some tax revenues of it's own. The estimate--from the people spending $14 mil to get them here--is that we'll get $30 million in tax revenue OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS.

Now, the first thing you need to know is that such estimates are always rosy. We'd love to see Guv'nor Bob's numbers. We bet it includes things like the gas taxes those 300 executives will ring up over the next 10 years.

Lest we limit our criticism to the GOP governor, however, it appears that the liberal Democratic bastions of Arlington and Fairfax are also falling all over themselves to get Northrop to put its corporate offices in their jurisdictions. A fine use for the kiddie sports tax the Arlington Board just approved.

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