Commonly called the "Aviation Amendment," House Bill 39 provides a state sales tax exemption that applies to aviation-related businesses. Specifically, the exemption covers aircraft manufacturing parts, components, and systems involved in the maintenance and repair of aircraft.
The exemption is needed because more than 10 other states currently provide similar exemptions and use those exemptions to attract new business. With the Governor's signing of the Aviation Amendment, Alabama can now be more competitive in attracting that business to this state.
"The Aviation Amendment gives us a vital tool to help aviation companies have what they need to attract customers and create future development," Governor Bentley said. "The end result will be more secure, well-paying jobs for people in our communities."
Bill Hafner, vice president of operations at ST Aerospace Mobile Inc., which repairs and renovates airliners, said the plan could protect and add jobs by offering an exemption enjoyed by other facilities in Florida, Georgia, and other states.
"I'm very pleased," Hafner said. "It puts us on a level playing field, so now we're not imposing additional costs on our customers. I think it will help assure that work will remain here and help attract future work."
Senator Ben Brooks was the Senate sponsor of the legislation.
"This bill levels the playing field for Alabama to compete in the aircraft industry," Senator Brooks said. "It sends the signal to the nation and the world that Alabama is aircraft friendly for businesses and for workers."
Representative Paul Lee was the House sponsor of the legislation.
"This new law will shed light on the state of Alabama as being ready for business relating to the aircraft industry," Representative Lee said. "It is time for Alabama to be the shining star for new business and future jobs in this field."
To ensure the tax exemption has a strong economic impact, the economic gains will be closely monitored. The law has a sunset provision and will end in 2022, unless lawmakers determine from an economic impact study that the exemption should continue.
"Job creation and retention remain my number-one priority, and this bill is a crucial part of our economic development efforts," Governor Bentley said. "I appreciate lawmakers recognizing the need for this legislation, and I am pleased to sign it into law."