Connecticut lawmakers approve $220 million deal to keep Sikorsky Aircraft in the state

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HARTFORD — Connecticut lawmakers approves a $220 million agreement that will keep Sikorsky Aircraft in the state, producing a new line of heavy cargo helicopters for the U.S. military.

The General Assembly met Wednesday to vote on the deal, recently reached between Sikorsky, its new parent company, Lockheed Martin, and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy's administration.

"This is multi-generational because you’ll make the product for a period of time and then you’ll maintain the product for another 20 or 30 years after that," said Malloy on Wednesday. "This assures a lot of jobs in Connecticut for a very long period of time."

Senate President Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, says Connecticut was in competition with states including Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia to build nearly 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, at least through June 2032.

"These jobs at Sikorsky pay over 90 thousand dollars a year on average so these are good paying jobs that will generate income tax revenue to our state and provide solid incomes for families to live on, build homes on and contribute to our community," said Looney.

If the state didn't secure the work, he predicts Connecticut could have lost Sikorsky as work on the Black Hawk helicopter winds down.

Some Republicans are dismayed the state is spending so much money to retain the company.

"I don’t think this is the way to make it happen and I think that if we start paying companies off, the line is going to get very long of people that want state resources in order to continue to state in our state," said State Senator Joe Markley, R-Southington, the lone Senator to vote against the bill.

The bill now heads to the governor for his signature. The full force of the deal is expected to be felt by 2019, lawmakers said.