Tuesday, April 5, 2011
An aerospace engineering tax incentive that was shelved a year ago will be taking off later this year.
Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed House Bill 1008, which will remove the aerospace incentives from a list of nearly 30 tax credits that legislators last year suspended. Lawmakers put it on a two-year moratorium to help balance this year’s state budget.
The measure takes effect July 1.
Fallin said the measure is needed to encourage growth in the state’s aerospace industry. The credits can be claimed only after companies have hired new engineers; the creation of new jobs is a requirement to claim the credit.
“The aerospace industry is one of our top industries in our state,” Fallin said. “Having this aerospace engineering tax credit will go a long ways in not only helping us retain jobs but certainly to be more attractive to new jobs coming to the state of Oklahoma.”
The average aerospace job pays $55,000 a year, nearly twice the state’s average salary, she said.
Fallin, who took office in January, called for the credit in her budget for the 2012 fiscal year, which takes effect July 1.
Rep. Skye McNiel, author of the measure, said that in 2009, the only year the tax credits were fully in place, 348 new engineers with an average salary of $75,000 were hired.
The incentives cost the state $3.5 million that year, but the economic impact to the state from the hiring is $270 million, said McNiel, R-Bristow.
“This is the only piece of legislation like it in the country,” said Steve Hendrickson, director of government operations for the Boeing Co., which has about 1,000 employees in Oklahoma and will be hiring another 500 workers. The company is moving its B-1 program and C-130 avionics modernization program from California.
Fallin said officials with aerospace companies have told her they have jobs they could fill if they find the engineers and aerospace technicians.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT The Oklahoman