Rhode Island Government’s Reverse Robin Hood for General Dynamics


An interesting she-said-she-said slips by in Alex Nunes’s Providence Journal article on the Rhode Island government’s incentive give-aways to Electric Boat (a subsidiary of General Dynamics):

“[Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger] was essentially saying to me, ‘Look, we have these new contracts. We need to hire … thousands of people. We want to hire Rhode Islanders, but you need to do your part,’” [Democrat Governor Gina] Raimondo recalled in a recent interview in her office. …

“Nobody’s asking the local, state government, or the federal government to do this [employee training] work for us,” [Electric Boat Human Resources Vice President Maura] Dunn said in an interview at the company’s Groton offices.

That said, Dunn does call the training a “community project,” which implies other people doing at least some of the work.

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The debate throws off a lot of numbers, as well as undefined phrases like “doing their part,” but here’s one set of numbers I found interesting:

According to General Dynamics’ annual report, 2016 was a record fiscal year for the company, with $31.4 billion in overall sales and revenues of $8.2 billion in the Marine Systems group, which includes submarine-building.

The company’s market capitalization, a measure of the value of a publicly traded business, also reached $52.6 billion by year’s end on a nearly 26-percent increase in its stock price.

According to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Rhode Island’s GDP for 2016 was $57.4 billion.  In other words, the total market capitalization of General Dynamics is nearly as big as Rhode Island’s economy for all industries.  Does the company really need Rhode Island to take millions of dollars from other industries and individuals and focus it on one business’s narrow needs, profiting its investors at record-setting rates?

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  • Rhett Hardwick

    I never allowed my daughter to read Robin Hood. This does seem like a reversal of “stealing from the rich to give to the poor”.
    Good deal of anti-Semitism in Robin Hood ,too. Or, is that Ivanhoe?

  • D. S. Crockett

    Never heard you espouse such anti-capitalist and class envy tones before? EB if it left RI could never be replaced. Not sure where the comments from EB were coming from in as much as they have been training Rhode Islanders for decades. Me thinks the comments were taken out of context. By the way, I’d rather see my tax dollars spend helping EB educate the work force it needs to stay in RI rather than the spending $30-million for community education which will little equip the graduates for jobs upon graduation.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      There is much in what you say. Makes me recall that it seems like just yesterday there was a hue and cry against any further development at Quonset Point.