By CHRIS POWELL
Connecticut may be paying the Sikorsky helicopter division of military contractor Lockheed Martin as much as $250 million to keep its facilities in the state for the next 20 years -- an average of more than $12 million per year -- if the company gets major new helicopter contracts from the U.S. Defense Department.
Governor Lamont has struck such a deal with Sikorsky, similar to one struck by his predecessor, Dannel P. Malloy. While the General Assembly would have to approve it, legislative leaders of both parties seem to favor it because Sikorsky, based in Stratford, already has about 8,000 employees and 250 suppliers in the state and with the new contracts might hire thousands more.
Even with the subsidy from state government, Sikorsky could relocate to a state that made a better offer, though it might have to repay whatever it had taken from Connecticut.
Under the circumstances the subsidy may be good policy. But it is still corporate welfare, and smiling through it are Connecticut's members of Congress. Instead they should be advocating legislation to prevent recurrence of this kind of thing not just in Connecticut but throughout the country.
States [ITALICS] should [END ITALICS] compete with each other to draw businesses and residents. But the federal government shouldn't take sides in this competition. The federal government should prevent military contracts from being used as leverage to extort corporate welfare from state and municipal governments.
That is, federal law could forbid military contractors from obtaining corporate welfare that is conditioned on the award of a military contract, like the corporate welfare Connecticut plans to give Sikorsky.
With the Sikorsky arrangement, the leverage of the federal government will be used not for public gain but for corporate gain. What President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex has enough power, influence, and wealth already.
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YALE'S BAD MANAGEMENT: Yale University in New Haven is as renowned as any institution of higher education in the world. But recent events suggest that Yale is overrated.
In recent years Yale has become a center of political correctness as much as education, and on March 10 this political correctness turned again to fascism as more than a hundred students at the university's law school besieged what was supposed to be a forum on civil liberties.
The students interrupted the forum, stood up and held signs, blocking sight lines, and shouted and jeered in objection to the participation of one of the invited speakers, a representative from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which supports the civil liberties of conservatives. Police were needed to escort the speakers away.
While the young fascists are law students, Yale will not punish them, apparently because they noisily left the assembly room and congregated disruptively outside before they were given a fourth warning, a threshold set in student conduct rules.
Neither will Yale give any thought to how such people are getting admitted to the university, nor to why the atmosphere at the university is so intolerant of political disagreement.
Then last week a former finance director of Yale's School of Medicine pleaded guilty to federal charges that she stole $40 million from the university over 10 years through the fraudulent purchase and sale of computer equipment and programming.
Yale also has a School of Management, but the student thuggery and colossal theft at the university suggest that it doesn't have nearly enough management.
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CUTENESS IS FADING: Legislation to allow farmers to get state permits to shoot bears and other predatory animals that damage crops and kill or injure livestock failed last week in the General Assembly's Environment Committee on a vote of 18-13.
Connecticut already allows deer hunting to protect agriculture and deer don't attack livestock as bears do, so it is hard to understand the opposition to protecting agriculture against bears.
The bill that was rejected did not authorize a general bear-hunting season in Connecticut. But unless bear hunting is authorized soon to some extent, the continuing explosion in the bear population will put at least several bears in every town. Their cuteness is already wearing off fast.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.