A bill in the Mississippi Legislature could give a $45 million subsidy to Huntington Ingalls Industries to fund improvements at their Pascagoula shipyard.
Senate Bill 3033 would provide bond money for the shipyard under a “five-year plan to modernize the state shipyard and keep it competitive with other shipyards.” The shipyard’s only competitor for Navy contracts is Bath Iron Works in Maine.
If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant, it won’t be the first time the firm has gone to taxpayers for money.
The company spent more than $186,000 lobbying Mississippi lawmakers in 2016 and more than $179,000 in 2015. Spokespersons for Huntington Ingalls didn’t return Watchdog’s requests for comment in time for publication.
The company leases the land for its Pascagoula shipyard from the state and is exempt from property taxes. It is one of south Mississippi’s largest employers, with 11,000 workers.
According to its fourth quarter earnings statement for 2016, Huntington Ingalls earned $7.1 billion and has a $21 billion contract backlog. With President Donald Trump proposing a 335-ship fleet compared to 274 ships today, the construction backlog for Ingalls could get a lot larger.
According to a report to Congress, the Navy also would need to add at least 19 submarines and 23 large surface combatants (cruisers and destroyers) to its 30-year shipbuilding plan.
Huntington Ingalls’ Pascagoula yard builds Arleigh Burke class destroyers, America class amphibious warfare ships, San Antonio class amphibious dock ships for the Navy and the Hamilton class national security cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Huntington Ingalls has been raking in the taxpayer cash lately, as both Virginia and the city of Newport News — where Ingalls builds and refits nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines — gave the shipbuilder a combined $92 million in 2016 to fund improvements at its yard there.