Reno airport officials seek aviation tax breaks | SierraSun.com

Reno airport officials seek aviation tax breaks

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

RENO, Nev. ” The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority is proposing tax breaks for aviation companies to attract new businesses to Nevada.

But some legislative leaders question whether the 2009 Legislature will support such a proposal, given the state’s fiscal crisis.

“Any tax exemptions would be very difficult to pass,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

But Krys Bart, airport authority president and chief executive, said other states such as Utah, Delaware, Arkansas and New Mexico are beating Nevada in luring aviation companies because they offer better incentives to relocate.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport recently lost a bid to lure Duncan Aviation, an aircraft service operation, to Provo, Utah, Bart said.

“People in Nevada have this perception that Nevada doesn’t have personal income tax and Nevada doesn’t have certain other taxes, so we are the best” for business, Bart said.

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“The fact of the matter is that other states have gone beyond us,” she said. “And the competition today is doing more, doing it bigger and doing it better.”

Mike Skaggs, executive director of the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, said incentives help spur the economy.

“The issue right now is that we have to spark revenue generation,” Skaggs said. “And that is what these economic incentives are about.

“It is sometimes very tough to get these companies to locate here and create the jobs here because the darn environment is just so competitive.”

Bart said the bill proposal would assist Dassault Aircraft Services, a French aviation company that this fall announced plans to open a center at Reno-Tahoe to service its Falcon private jets.

The center is expected to open by spring and employee more than 40 high-skilled workers.

Bart said if that venture is successful, it could help lure other aviation firms and jobs to northern Nevada.

“In choosing Reno, they are going to be doing maintenance on corporate jets that are not only flying in from the West Coast but also jets from Hawaii, Canada, Alaska and even Asia because these jets can fly that far,” Bart said.

“So we will be bringing in national and international business owners to have their jet serviced here. And who owns these corporate jets? People who own successful businesses.

“And you want them to see the region,” Bart said. “You want them to experience northern Nevada.”