FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — State lawmakers from Shelton and Stratford are applauding a bipartisan vote Wednesday by the legislature to approve the state's $220 million deal to keep Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut.
State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21) and State Reps. Laura Hoydick (R-120), Jason Perillo (R-113), and Ben McGorty (R-122) also voted in favor of the aid package to Lockheed Martin, which owns Sikorsky.
Sikorsky also plans to build 200 new CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the Navy at its plant in Stratford. Under the deal negotiated with the state, the company pledges to remain in Stratford and increase current in-state spending on supplies to more than $700 million per year through 2032.
Under the terms of the deal, Sikorsky will be required to increase full-time employment to over 8,000 workers. According to the state Department of Economic and Community Development, the deal will put about $69.2 billion into the state economy over the 14-year agreement, invest over $21 billion in wages and benefits, and generate more than $384 million in tax revenue each year.
If the company meets all requirements, it will be eligible for up to $10.4 million a year over 14 years and be eligible for sales tax exemptions.
“Today’s passage of legislation approving this deal will keep good-paying middle-class jobs here in our community,” said Kelly. “I am thrilled that Sikorsky recognizes the value in keeping their business here in Stratford where we have an incredibly talented workforce. No one does a better job when it comes to making helicopters than workers our region. This is a positive step forward to secure Sikorsky jobs and solidify the company’s role in the lives of future generations in our community."
But Kelly said the deal shows the challenges Connecticut companies face.
"To make Connecticut a realistic option for job expansion, as opposed to moving to another more affordable state, Sikorsky needed help to make it happen. While this one deal is a smart investment that is projected to have a significant return on investment, we also need to do more as a state to make Connecticut a competitive option for all businesses," he said. "We have to reduce burdens for all job creators as a whole. I’m glad that we were able to take immediate action to keep Sikorsky jobs here, but we have to do more in the long term to improve our business environment overall.”
Hoydick noted the importance of Sikorsky in the region's economy. “Sikorsky is a vital economic hub to Stratford, the region and the state. This proposal helps keep Sikorsky in Stratford, and has enormous job creation potential. Additionally, there is the expectation to keep and expand the many high-paying skilled jobs in manufacturing that Sikorsky provides, while having far-reaching economic benefits to suppliers throughout Connecticut, particularly right here in Stratford,” she said.
Perillo said he had issues with the deal. "I hate deals like this that help one specific employer. That said, Gov. [Dannel] Malloy has created this toxic business environment for all companies, including Sikorsky," he said. "Shelton and the region can't afford to lose these skilled jobs. I have to protect Sikorsky employees who live in Shelton and their families."
Perillo said that in light of this deal, he has urged Sikorsky to reconsider its recently announced layoffs.
“This is an important deal that will secure Sikorsky and their high-skilled manufacturing jobs in our region for many years,” said McGorty. “While I support this measure, it’s no substitute for having a real economic policy that makes our state legitimately competitive and attractive to major manufacturers. A great deal of work remains before us to ensure a better environment for employers here.”