Lockheed Martin set to receive $17 million Jefferson County tax incentive

Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Lockheed Martin Space Systems will receive nearly $17 million in county business personal property tax rebates over 15 years in exchange for a pledge to create 500 high-paying jobs at its Waterton Canyon facility.

The incentive package is the largest ever by Jefferson County.

The three-member Board of County Commissioners unanimously agreed on the proposal during a briefing Tuesday, but the deal won't be official until the board's Dec. 23 meeting, where it is on the consent agenda, chairwoman Faye Griffin said.

Lockheed Martin is Jefferson County's largest private-sector employer and has been an economic force in the county for more than 60 years.

The company's expansion — and this deal — falls in line with the Jeffco Economic Development Corporation's commitment to the aerospace industry, the economic development group's CEO, Kevin McCasky, said.

"As Lockheed Martin continues to remain an economic driver in the county, it is critical that we support their operations and position the county for future growth with the company," McCasky said.

Lockheed Martin will spend almost $263 million expanding its Commercial Space division, which is estimated to bring an almost $4.5 billion economic and fiscal benefit to the county over the next two decades, according to the EDC.

Griffin said the company's long-term investment in Jefferson County factored into the commissioners' discussion, as did the potential benefits to the county from an influx of new Lockheed employees.

"This is the kind of thing that benefits the county as a whole," she said. "The majority of these people will be shopping and living in Jefferson County, buying groceries, merchandise, houses. All of that trickles back to the county and into the cities in the county."

The county incentive to Lockheed is in addition to one approved in September by the Colorado Office of Economic Development under the cloaked name of "Project Blue." That deal exchanged up to $15.5 million in state job-growth tax incentives for 500 jobs.

The new jobs are part of Lockheed's Space Systems division.

The company opened a commercial space division operations center in October after consolidating the division and moving 350 jobs to Colorado from Pennsylvania earlier this year.

The new jobs are part of Lockheed's Commercial Space division, which opened its operation center in Jefferson County in October.

The company already moved 350 commercial space jobs to Colorado from Pennsylvania.

The rebate will be issued on the portion of Lockheed's business personal property tax that is retained by the county. It represents about 25 percent of Lockheed's personal property tax and does not apply to any taxes that are due to schools, fire departments or taxing districts.

Personal property tax is levied on equipment, machinery and other items associated with doing business.

As is true with the Colorado OED incentive, the Jefferson County deal includes performance-based criteria Lockheed must meet to get the tax rebate. Those criteria were not immediately available.

Lockheed's Commercial Space division builds and manages A2100 communications satellites and LM900 imaging satellites used for cellphones, TV and planetary imaging. Additionally, the new operations center has the capability to serve as mission control for up to 50 orbiting satellites.


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