The recipient of several massive tax breaks, defense contractor Lockheed Martin is moving several productions from Baltimore to its existing facilities in Moorestown, Gov. Phil Murphy’s office announced on May 25. The move will add an additional 400 job positions through 2023.
Lockheed received nearly $150 million in state subsidies over the past decade to stay and expand in New Jersey, but said in an email that state incentives did not factor into the recent expansion decision.
Murphy’s office could not be immediately reached for comment, nor could the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which handles state-funded financial incentives for businesses eyeing a move or expansion in the state.
“Lockheed Martin is one of the giants in the defense contracting industry and New Jersey is proud to call them a valued partner,” reads a statement from Murphy.“The relocation of these high-paying engineering jobs to New Jersey is a testament to all that our state has to offer.”
According to the governor’s office, the new jobs will handle the production of its “vertical launching systems,” which are currently handled in Baltimore. It’ll entail $10 million of money spent by Lockheed into new production facilities and tooling at Moorestown.
“Lockheed Martin has a proud history across the State of New Jersey – and that history will continue as we look to the future,” said Stephanie Hill, executive vice president with Lockheed’s rotary and mission systems department.
“We’re committed to growing our economic impact through the expansion of our Moorestown operations and the continued investment in high-technology jobs that support vital national security programs,” she said.
In 2014, the NJEDA awarded a $107 million tax break to Lockheed to open several facilities in Camden rather than leave the state and take with it 250 jobs from its Cherry Hill campus. The company was awarded a $40 million tax break in 2012 under a proto-version of the Grow NJ program for moving to Moorestown.
Critics of the Grow NJ incentives contend that many businesses abused the program by making thinly veiled threats to leave the state in exchange for lucrative tax break awards.
According to a task force Murphy convened in 2019 to scrutinize the Grow NJ program, businesses with close ties to South Jersey political powerbroker George Norcross allegedly made untrue claims that they would leave New Jersey without the incentives, in turn winning awards. The awards were approved after thorough reviews.
In response, NJ Emerge – which replaces Grow NJ and has a yearly budget of $1.1 billion – has much stricter job creation and retention requirements for companies considering a move out of New Jersey.
Businesses have decried those requirements as too cumbersome for existing businesses in the state eyeing an expansion, and lawmakers are looking at whether to scale them back.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated it was not clear if Lockheed Martin had received state subsidies for this expansion, the company since responded to requests for comments indicating that incentives did not factor into the decision.
This article was updated at 9:30 a.m. on May 27, 2021 to make clear that the tax incentive task force findings were allegations and the awards in question were approved after being reviewed.