The parent company of Bath Iron Works – General Dynamics – is one of the largest contractors, reaping billions in profits every year for its shareholders by satisfying the Department of Defense’s insatiable appetite for military hardware, futile wars, nuclear weapons and the Navy’s imagined need for 46 more ships (got to figure out some way to spend billions of taxpayer dollars in a bloated defense budget).

Despite numerous opinion pieces and letters to the contrary, the Feb. 20 commentary by former BIW CEO William Haggett endorses the perennial lobbying effort for continuing mega tax breaks from the state, implying that the Maine economy and BIW, as well as the jobs of its employees, are in serious danger without a $3 million-per-year tax exemption for up to 20 years.

There is likely not a single taxpaying citizen who doubts the benefits of BIW in our state, even if it contributes to an increasing personal and national arsenal – from AR-15s to $3 billion ships – that makes our neighborhoods and the world less secure.

The headline of Haggett’s commentary (“Tax credit would keep BIW afloat and state’s economic engine humming”) is disingenuous and deceptive. BIW’s ability to compete for contracts will hardly be in jeopardy without this continuing tax gift, and neither will our personal, local and state budgets. BIW will continue to be awarded multibillion-dollar contracts, and General Dynamics’ shareholders will continue to be the primary beneficiaries of an unwarranted and unnecessary tax dodge.

The notion of a $60 million tax giveaway to this enterprise is truly obscene. Surely Maine folks and their Legislature are not so naïve as to believe we ought to continue to accommodate the greed of a military-industrial machine in order to keep it “afloat and humming.”

Michael Beaudoin