Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) took a swipe at Maryland Thursday when talking about the state’s attempts to woo Bethesda-based defense giant Lockheed Martin from the neighboring state to the north.
“Maryland, with some of their tax and regulatory policies, (has) been less friendly to business,’’ McDonnell said on his monthly call-in show on WRVA.
The dust up started earlier this month when Maryland’s Montgomery County council talked about passing a resolution asking Congress to spend less on wars, angering Lockheed Martin, which employs more than 5,000 workers there.
Virginia officials took the opportunity to pursue the company, but McDonnell has been coy about his role.
“Absolutely. We’re talking to people who somehow are made to feel unwelcome in their home states about coming to Virginia,’’ he said.
Maryland has lost at least two defense contractors to Virginia in recent years. Last year, Northrop Grumman chose Virginia over Maryland for its global headquarters after a process that pitted the two neighboring states against each other. The defense firm moved to Falls Church this summer.
“We have the greatest defense contractors in the world that are doing great work to provide tools, machinery, etc. to men and woman in uniform who are doing the hard work of freedom,’’ McDonnell said. “I’d love to have them in Virginia. We welcome all job creators to Virginia.”
O’Malley gave Bechtel a loan to get them to stay in Maryland. They were considering a move to Virginia.
Virginia officials, who have long sought to lure Lockheed Martin’s headquarters to the state, initially had officials at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership contact the company.
“Friendly competition between the states is the tide that lifts all the boats. It makes us all better,’’ he said. “We sharpen one another.”
Last week, McDonnell said he hadn’t spoken to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley about the issue, but that his Democratic colleague to the north should be upset by the scene unfolding in his state.
“You see Martin O’Malley doesn’t think states ought to compete with one another,’’ McDonnell said. “He’s just absolutely dead wrong.”
O’Malley’s office declined to comment.