SACRAMENTO — The state Senate has rushed to the governor a massive tax break designed to boost Northrop Grumman Corp.'s chances of landing a government contract to build next-generation stealth bombers for the Air Force.
Final passage of the bill, SB 718, came late Wednesday on a 32-4 tally. It would give the giant aerospace company the same nearly $500-million incentive the state offered to the partnership of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. Gov. Jerry Brown signed that legislation July 10.
The two rivals are the only ones expected to bid for — and have a shot at winning — the estimated $55-billion contract for the high-tech planes that would replace the 2-decade-old B-2 bomber.
Northrop and Lockheed said they would do most of the work at a federal government factory and nearby facilities in Palmdale.
Snagging the project would create about 1,100 well-paying positions, which would help foster an additional 5,500 jobs in the region.
Officials of the Brown administration have publicly pledged that the governor would sign the bill in time for Northrop to complete its initial proposal for the Pentagon.
"I am certain that there will be a bomber built, and … we need it," said Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside), an author of the bill along with Sen. Stephen Knight (R-Palmdale). "I am certain that with a little bit of luck and the tax incentive, the bomber will be built in the state of California."