Letter to the editor: Proposed corporate welfare elicits hunger strike
Bruce Gagnon, a long time peace activist from Bath Maine , will start an open-ended hunger strike today, February 12, in opposition to LD 1781, currently under debate in the Maine Legislature. This bill, titled deceptively : "An Act to Encourage New Major Investments in Shipbuilding Facilities and the Preservation of Jobs" is a bill that will give our much needed tax money, to the tune of $60 Million dollars, as a tax break to General Dynamics, the parent company of Bath Iron Works. GD's top CEO made $21 million dollars last year, and they are so profitable as a corporation that GD was able to buy back $12.9 billion dollars of their own stock, between 2009-2016.
Bruce Gagnon is beginning his hunger strike to stand in solidarity with Maine people who need this tax money much more than BIW/GD. As he writes, there are "43,000 kids living in poverty in Maine right now. There is no money to fix pot hole filled roads, and our bridges are deemed deficient by DOT. Thousands in Maine have no health care. In rural Maine hospitals, schools and factories are closing. What could Maine do with $60 million that GD does not really need?"
I call on all Maine residents to do whatever you can to oppose LD 1781 in Augusta, and to stand in solidarity with Bruce Gagnon , and those in need across Maine. Contact your local legislators to oppose LD 1781. We must insist that our representatives get our priorities right and put Maine people's welfare before corporate profits.
Meredith Bruskin lives in Swanville.