Wiregrass legislator pushes bill for aviation tax relief

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Dothan, AL (WSFA) - A Wiregrass Legislator is leading the charge to change a state tax law that affects aviation businesses in Dothan, Mobile, Birmingham and Andalusia.

Dothan Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker said, "We're an aviation state.  You can look at the history of Alabama—the rocket program, the military, and the commercial aviation."

In fact, more than 70,000 Alabamians are employed in the aerospace and aviation industry, but those businesses say they're threatened by a state tax law.

It's something State Representative Terry Spicer is hoping to change with House Bill 468.

Spicer said, "We're beginning to lose business, even jobs, so that's our concern."

The current law charges an extra tax for materials used to repair aircrafts in the state.

Right now, Alabama is one of only 10 states to do so.

The new bill would exempt them from that tax, and those in the aviation repair business say that change would put Alabama at a competitive edge.

Todd McGarvey, Vice-President of Power Flight Aviation, said, "It's a tax rate, and ultimately the customer is going to pay it.  If they can go 10 miles east to Georgia and get it for less, they'll probably do that."

Currently, the bill is in negotiations in a House sub-committee.

Legislators like Spicer are working to build support, hoping it will take flight.

Opponents of the bill say that loss in tax revenue would hurt the education trust fund, and with another round of statewide proration on the way, many believe it could be difficult to pass.

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