Rural Kentucky County Rejects Massive Corporate Development Scheme

After rebuffing a proposal that would land Lockheed Martin, and 3,500 new jobs, its safe to say that Bourbon County, Kentucky probably isn't bidding on the second Amazon headquarters either.
December 21, 2017, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Bridget Calip

Tom Elbin offers perspective on a decision by Bourbon County, Kentucky, refusing a deal to bring Lockheed Martin to a military industrial park called Bluegrass Station: "Offered a deal that could have created 3,500 good jobs but ruined the beloved rural character of a corner of Bourbon County, Fiscal Court members did a remarkable thing in this money-obsessed age: They said no."

"With their unanimous action, magistrates struck a blow against corporate welfare," adds Elfin. "They also set the stage for a conversation many Kentucky counties need to have: How can they grow and prosper in the 21st century without losing their identity, sacrificing their quality of life and selling their soul to multinational corporations that are here today but may be gone tomorrow?"

The deal depended on Bourbon County buying 2,500 acres of land, likely through condemnation, and building an industrial park including hangars and runways for aircraft. Lockheed Martin promised to add 350 jobs by 2020, but the goal was to add as many as 3,500 other jobs to the proposed site, called Bluegrass Station.

Elbin provides background on the political opposition that rose to successfully oppose the plan, and notes Lockheed Martin's status as a "king of corporate welfare" in the state, pulling $1 billion in state and local incentives in recent years.

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Published on Friday, December 15, 2017 in Lexington Herald Leader
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