Major defense contractor Lockheed Martin plans to leave San Diego

Posted at 4:11 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 12:32:28-05

SAN DIEGO — A major defense contractor is moving out of state and taking 100 good paying jobs with it.

This time, it's Lockheed Martin, saying goodbye to California and its high taxes.

The defense contractor is moving command and control jobs to its headquarters in Littleton, Colo., a state that cuts California's corporate income tax in half.

"We continually evaluate our operations to identify opportunities to increase affordability," the company said in a statement. "...Reduction of duplicate laboratories and facilities operating costs improves the affordability and efficiency of our business, which better serves our customers."

Lockheed Martin opened the office in 2009 with 500 workers.

But San Diego companies like Red Door Interactive, which is currently hiring programmers, say Lockheed Martin will leave behind the region's top shelf workers.

"We found that we can really attract great talent and this is a really important part of our business," said Kate DeJong, the company's vice president.

But even San Diego's workers are targets.

In 2013, a billboard in tech-rich Sorrento Valley advertised Colorado's 4.6 percent personal income tax rate - about a third of what California charges top earners. 

The question remains whether Lockheed Martin's employees accept the company's offer to relocate. Red Door employee Whitney Gandara says that could be a tough sell with local opportunities here for well-rounded workers. 

"I feel like I'm always ahead of the curve, always learning and growing, so that whenever I end up in the future, I'm definitely set up for success," she said. 

Lockheed Martin will maintain a field office in San Diego to help local customers. It expects the transition to Colorado to be complete by May.