Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sid Salter: Shipyard's Future Vital to State

Only Walmart/Sam’s employs more people in Mississippi than does Ingalls Shipyards at about 12,500 employees. But Ingalls and other shipbuilders pay significantly better than Walmart.

 Since December of 2018, Ingalls has been awarded the following major shipbuilding contracts from the U.S. Navy: $931 million for construction of two new U.S. Coast Guard national security cutters (NSCs); $1.47 billion for construction of a new San Antonio class amphibious loading platform dock (LPD) ship; and $931 million for a planning yard contract for Littoral combat ships.

In addition, VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula in April won a $746 million Navy contract to build three heavy polar icebreaker cutters for the Coast Guard. That contract should drive employment at VT Halter to over 1,300 over the six-year life of that contract.

Clearly, those contracts don’t find their way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast without some nudges in Congress.
Republican Mississippi senior U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s posts on the Senate Armed Services Committee and as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee make him a player in the award of Navy contracts and in the formulation of Coast Guard policy.


There are several Mississippi connections to the VT Halter contract for the polar security cutters. Junior Mississippi Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee while 4th District U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo holds a seat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

Mississippi’s lone Democrat in the U.S. House, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Future funding for the Coast Guard polar security cutters in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget could well get caught in the partisan crunch. Thompson made clear in April that Democratic disagreements with the Trump administration over proposed White House cuts in Coast Guard programs could derail the process.
Thompson said the White House proposes to cut $1 billion from the Coast Guard budget that would underfund operational capabilities, personnel and funding for future cutters.

With 14,000 of the state’s highest-paying jobs on the line, one would think that the state’s shipbuilding industry would garner more attention in statewide politics. State subsidies to Ingalls have in the past drawn political fire from conservative politicians, but state lawmakers have continued to do the same thing that lawmakers in other states with substantial shipbuilding industries have done – keep the subsidies in place to protect the jobs.
The industry has two main components – shipbuilding and ship repair.

In 2011, Mississippi had the second largest share of U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair jobs in the country, trailing only Maine. The industry had 23,450 direct, indirect and induced jobs. That same year, Mississippi had just under 10 percent of all the private shipbuilding and ship repair jobs in the U.S. with 13.8 percent of the total national payroll.

Shipbuilding and ship repair in the U.S. have declined over the last decade. China, South Korea, Japan, and those countries control some 75 percent of global commercial shipbuilding. Even VT Halter in Mississippi is at least 51 percent owned by interests in Singapore.

Brookings Institution economic studies fellow Aaron Klein documents that from the end of World War II until the 1970s, the U.S. shipbuilding industry built most of the world’s shipping fleets during a time when countries around the world subsidized their national shipbuilding industries – a practice the U.S. abandoned in 1981.

Mississippi legislators have been wise to continue to make modest subsidies to a shipbuilding industry that has been an economic centerpiece in the state since Ingalls was lured to Mississippi in 1938 to locate their shipyard in Pascagoula under Gov. Hugh White's “Balance Agriculture with Industry” program.

If we lost that industry, what would replace it? Another Walmart?

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com.

23 comments:

Eat More Sanderson Chicken said...

Staggering when you think about how many odes to Federal pork just like the above that Salter has written in his life.

Only thing better would have been if Sid had argued that we needed more illegal aliens to build the ships.

Anonymous said...

If Ingalls Shipyard is so great, then why did Northrop Grumman dump it and run away screaming?

Didn't President Eisenhower warn us of the dangers of the Military Industrial Complex to our constitutional republic? Did, you describe that danger well when you mention Bennie Thompson having a say in defense spending. Now someone has to enrich that idiot to ensure the cash flows south.

That's right, but it's jobs fo m'ssippi! It don't matter where the money comes from!

Anonymous said...

This employer was the first ever in Mississippi to be involved in the old BAWI program (70 years ago) that gained them a tax break for locating in Pascagoula. Since then, billions of dollars in payroll have flowed into this state as well as the state on the eastern side of our land mass.

Let this be a lesson to the idiots who are always chirping about corporate welfare and the 'nonsense of tax abatements'.

Meanwhile, when is Salter going to pen an article about the politicization of the flooded Delta region, with 2 million acres under water while the federal government fiddles? This thing has become quite the political football between the feds, environmentalists, hunting interests, dues-paying members of farm-related organizations and millionaire landowners with shotguns and rifles.

Bennie Gonna Be Bennie.. said...

The last thing Bennie Thompson wants or advocates for is JOBS. Having not brought a single job to his Delta district in 25 years, he knows his voting base is not inclined toward such mundane activities. Nor do Pelosi and Schumer (his puppeteers) have any interest in letting them leave 'the plantation'.

Anonymous said...

I wonder about folks who cringe at the mention of Benny Thompson. He has been referred to the FBI countless times and he's come out clean.
You want me to believe that the likes of Tater and Trump are clean.There is more evidence that Benny is Clean than those two.

Jeff Rimes said...

Anyone who calls the manufacturing of the best naval ships in the world "pork" is demonstrating how little they know about national security. There is much great work being done in Mississippi to protect our liberty, at our military bases and at manufacturers like Ingalls.

Rod Knox said...

If the shipyard and the military bases in the state were pulled from the state's economic statistics it would become obvious that Mississippi is at near THIRD WORLD poverty levels. But who would ever take it on themselves to show us just how poor the state is financially, and therefore show us how corrupt and mismanaged the government is. But let's keep cheering state government for keeping that rebel flag flying and shoveling sand against the tide on the issue of abortion while ignoring the 20+% who live in dire poverty without access to healthcare or education or even opportunity for employment that would fund relocating to find better opportunities. Yeah, Governor Bryant, keep up the DOG AND PONY SHOWS highlighting fights for autism vouchers and tax deferments for corporations while allowing bridges to collapse. Great job Mr Governor. And surely we can count on Governor Reeves keeping up the great work.

Anonymous said...

It is very common for Congress-critters to include projects in defense funding bills that the respective services do not want, but it is forced on them.

Anonymous said...

Benny IS NOT CLEAN. Neither is the FBI as proven in how they gave prefer e to not divulge all of HRC’s emails. Mine and yours would have to be under a microscope. It’s called the Deep State.

Now, go to the ERDC facility at Vicksburg and you will see millions of dollars in waste because Benny hands work over to his minority buddies and gets kickbacks. I will NOT perform work there ever again. It’s a boondoggle and stupidity runs wildly there.

So, let’s address the issues of education in this state and stop letting our skilled and potentially skilled citizens leave this state. When I refer to potentially skilled, you don’t have to have a college degree to make very good money and we have a lot of good people who waste time borrowing money to go to college and it doesn’t do a bit of good for some of them.

We need more industry....

Anonymous said...

If we need the ships, I Hope Mississippi builds them. If they are not needed and the Coadt Guard agrees, then the money should be spent elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Y'all need to lay off Bennie. His HUD approved, Section 8 housing company is 100% legitimate and he doesn't sit on any HUD committee that would cause him a conflict of interest. Like many elected Democrats, Bennie Thompson is simply in the business of providing set-aside minority owned services to the federal government. And it has made him a very rich man.

It is all completely legal and above board.

Anonymous said...

Mississippians don’t need high paying jobs. Just keep feeding them conservative abortion, gay, Confederate remembrance, state flag laws and they are as happy as a clam with how things are going in the great state. Remember “old times there are not forgotten “

Rod Knox said...

Tanks, planes and ships unwanted by the armed services are built and dumped on the Pentagon year after year. And how can the Pentagon turn down free gifts as long as they get what they actually do want.

https://taskandpurpose.com/air-force-f15x-purchase-f35

there are many more similar unnecessary weapons programs.

And just look back 60 years to the M151 and M-16. Neither were wanted by the Army or Marine Corps. And both were total failures. It just keeps getting more expensive every year.

Anonymous said...

11:44, You are right about those living in Mississippi being satisfied with the way things are. But there are also plenty lazy, thieving, murderous inner city Democrats who are just as happy as the ignorant rednecks, as long as they get their EBT and Section 8 housing.

The smart thing to do is just get out of there. Just move to Chattanooga, Mobile, Hammond, or Nashville. Go anywhere else and your life will instantly be improved. I say we give Mississippi to those who want it, and the rest of the nation's taxpayers should cut the fat tick off.

Anonymous said...

The best way to lose you job when working at Ingalls is to do your job right the first time. They make their money tearing out mistakes and re doing them. It isn't unusual to do the same job 12-15 times before you are allowed to do it right.

Anonymous said...

The Navy specs call for trail and error on certain components. Navy project management and inspectors run the show. You know that if you work at the Yard.

Anonymous said...

Ingalls hired 2000 from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Looks like they are working out for the shipyard.

Anonymous said...

Neither is the largest employer in the state. The government is the largest employer in the state.

Numbers Schmumbers.. said...

"The gubment" is a 'sector', 8:13, not an employer as such. Like construction, mining, agriculture, service, manufacturing, education, finance, trucking....government numbers are lopped into a 'sector'. You can't get away with that post.

Ingalls is a single employing unit. And their numbers stand alone in the labor market reporting process.

Anonymous said...

I think 8:13's point stands

Anonymous said...

No, his point doesn't 'stand' at all. It's hyperbole. Look the word up. But, his point stands if you like fabricated data analysis.

He takes every governmental employee in the state and lumps them into one mythical statistic. Cops, teachers, legislators, mayors, clerks at 91 courthouses, tractor drivers, the janitors at the coliseum. How the hell else can he come up with such stupid fabricated data?

Anonymous said...

Ingalls hired 2000 from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Looks like they are working out for the shipyard. May 9, 2019 at 12:31 AM

Link?

Borinquen Field General said...

12:31 might be thinking about the 500 jailed Puerto Ricans who, following the hurricane, were transferred to the federal prison in Yazoo City.

I can see how he might have confused the two, said nobody, ever.

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