The only step left to ensure that Sikorsky remains in Connecticut through 2032 is approval from both the Connecticut General Assembly and the Teamsters Union, which represents thousands of the company's employees.
Sikorsky did not release details of what union members would vote on and Gov. Dannel Malloy said lawmakers don't have much wiggle room when it comes to changing the deal his administration struck with the helicopter maker.
"The agreement that we’ve reached with Sikorsky assumes that the agreement we’ve reached with Sikorsky will be approved," he said during a news conference at Sikorsky's world headquarters in Stratford on Wednesday.
The deal ensures that Sikorsky will build the CH53 King Stallion Helicopter in Stratford. The Navy has already submitted orders for the Marines to use the helicopters.
CEO Dan Schultz said the commitment from Sikorsky is meant to show it values Connecticut as a destination, but did concede that it was not necessarily the most ideal destination from a dollars and cents perspective.
"Connecticut was not the cheapest state when we went through (our search process)," he said.
Schultz said the company started searching for a location for a new headquarters in November 2015, before Lockheed Martin purchased Sikorsky from United Technologies.
The $220 million incentive package the state agreed to with Sikorsky will be paid out over the life of the agreement. In return, Sikorsky will commit to $1 billion in new capital expenditures to upgrade its facility, maintain $11 billion in payroll and commit $6 billion to suppliers that are located in Connecticut.
Sen. Len Fasano, the minority leader in the Connecticut Senate, who has been very critical of Malloy and the state's business climate, said he thinks the agreement with Sikorsky is important and worth completing, despite the state's issues.
"It is too expensive to do business in this state and if it wasn’t as expensive we wouldn’t have to make these deals. That being said, we are where we are and we’re at a unique period in time where they have an accelerated schedule to build these helicopters so we have to react to the moment," he said.
Malloy described the commitment from the state as, "an investment."
Fred Carstensen, an economist at UConn who helped the governor's administration craft its deal with United Technologies to stay in Connecticut, said the deal is a very good one for taxpayers.
"I think it’s an extremely good deal. It’s a 15-year keep them anchored in CT. That should generate well over $10 billion in economic activity over the 15 years, probably a good deal more than that,” he said.
The state still has work to do when it comes to creating an environment where more companies can use tax credits and grow without specific assistance from the state of Connecticut, Carstensen said.
“These are really good deals but I would like to see more of a commitment to a general policy that says anybody who is sitting on these tax credits," Carstensen said.
The Sikorsky plant is scheduled to be built by 2019 and the first delivery is expected by 2020.