California Law Gives Future Bomber Builder Tax Break

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation into law that will provide tax breaks that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the industry team that builds the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber in the Golden State. SB-718, enacted by Brown on Aug. 15, would offer more than $400 million in tax credits from 2015 to 2030 to manufacturers that make job-creating investments in California for work on LRS-B, which the legislation refers to as the Air Force’s “new advanced strategic aircraft.” Lockheed Martin is teamed with Boeing to compete to build the new bomber; Northrop Grumman is also vying for the production contract. Both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have aircraft facilities near Palmdale, northeast of Los Angeles. The legislation was not without controversy, as the initial wording of the bill excluded prime contractors—in this case, Northrop Grumman—from consideration, reported Reuters. Lawmakers subsequently agreed to more inclusive language. The Air Force is pursuing LRS-B mostly under a veil of secrecy. In July, the service issued the LRS-B request for proposals. It intends to acquire between 80 and 100 LRS-B aircraft, with a unit flyaway cost of $550 million in Fiscal 2010 dollars.