Is the state making a good investment with its offer of $20 million in incentives to have General Dynamics Electric Boat expand at Quonset Business Park and add 1,300 jobs?

ELECTRIC BOAT will receive up to $20 million in incentives for its initiative to nearly double its square-footage in the Quonset Business park and hire 1,300 workers in Rhode Island as it scales up its workforce to build the Colombia-class submarine for the U.S. Navy. Above the Virginia-class submarine, which Electric Boat also produces for the Navy. / COURTESY ELECTRIC BOAT
ELECTRIC BOAT will receive up to $20 million in incentives for its initiative to nearly double its square-footage in the Quonset Business park and hire 1,300 workers in Rhode Island as it scales up its workforce to build the Columbia-class submarine for the U.S. Navy. Above the Virginia-class submarine, which Electric Boat also produces for the Navy. / COURTESY ELECTRIC BOAT

The announcement earlier this month that the state was offering up to $20 million in tax incentives to General Dynamics Electric Boat to expand its Quonset Business Park submarine manufacturing facility brought the issue of public support of private enterprise back to the fore. EB has committed to spend $792 million on the project, with the end result that it will create more than 1,300 jobs over the next decade.

The $20 million – which EB must meet certain conditions in order to get – will be in addition to $14 million that the administration of Gov. Gina M. Raimondo has said it will spend to modernize the port at Quonset. Given Electric Boat’s existing commitment to Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut, was this level of subsidy required to get the company to invest here? Is this a good way for the state to spend its tax dollars?

Is the state making a good investment with its offer of $20 million in incentives to have General Dynamics Electric Boat expand at Quonset Business Park and add 1,300 jobs?

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