Northrop Grumman seen unlikely to get state aid

The Northrop Grumman Corp. plant in Bethpage. The

The Northrop Grumman Corp. plant in Bethpage. The company said March 4 that it will move 850 jobs off Long Island by next year, leaving just 550 workers out of a workforce that exceeded 25,000 in the 1980s. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp, 2011

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Northrop Grumman Corp. is unlikely to receive any of the $3 million in grant money and tax breaks awarded it by New York State in late 2011, officials said Thursday.

The aid was promised in return for pledges from the Virginia-based aerospace giant to make $11.6 million in improvements to its Bethpage campus and continue to employ 1,500 people there. However, the workforce shrank by 100 jobs recently, and on Monday executives announced plans to move 850 jobs to Florida and California.

That decision will leave Northrop Grumman with 550 employees locally at a new "Electronic Attack Center of Excellence" -- far short of what is required to get state assistance over the next 10 years, said three officials of Empire State Development Corp., the main business aid agency in New York.

The officials also confirmed that Northrop Grumman did not tell New York State in advance about the planned move of jobs off Long Island, so the state couldn't attempt to dissuade the company. Most of the jobs are going to Florida, which offered incentives.

The New York State officials said they were surprised by Northrop Grumman's actions, given the state's long record of providing assistance.

In 2007, the company was in line to receive about $40 million to construct another building in Bethpage and add about 350 people to a local workforce that then totaled 1,770. However, Pentagon cutbacks forced the shelving of the expansion, and the company didn't receive those benefits.

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Kenneth Adams, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's economic development czar, said Thursday night, "While deeply disappointed by Northrop Grumman's corporate consolidation decision, I remain optimistic about the company's commitment to developing their electronic warfare capabilities in Bethpage."

The state Power Authority has been cutting the electric bills of Northrop Grumman factories since at least the 1980s. "We will review all agreements with Northrop Grumman, and if and when they fail to meet their commitments, the state will rescind the corresponding assistance," authority spokesman Paul A. DeMichele said Thursday.

A spokesman for Northrop Grumman declined to comment.

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