Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Governor Not Flying So High After All…

In case you missed it, Governor Patrick was at the Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. hanger at the Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport last week, touting plans to build a new maintenance facility.

According to Associated Press reports, Gulfstream is investing an estimated $20 million to build a “maintenance hangar in town (Westfield) to accommodate its new luxury business jet, keeping the company’s 130 local workers and creating 100 new full-time positions.”

While at first glance this would sound great for the Massachusetts economy - and it is - the Patrick-Murray Administration is leaving out one minor detail: in 2008 they proposed repealing the sales tax exemption for aircraft and aircraft parts.

Passed in 2001, the Exemption for Aircraft & Aircraft Parts allowed airplanes, helicopters, balloons and other aircraft to be exempt from sales tax. Also exempt are parts used exclusively for the repair of aircraft. But when filing the Fiscal Year 2009 budget, the Patrick Administration attempted to repeal this exemption, which it turns out saves the aerospace industry in Massachusetts close to $14.1 million.

Amongst those strongly opposed to any such repeal was Republican Representative and Chair of the Aviation Caucus, Donald Humason. In a May 2011 letter to Representative Jay Kaufman & Senator Gale Candaras, Chairs of the Joint Committee on Revenue, Representative Humason called the proposal “short-sighted” and argued it “would have certain immediate and unintended consequences.”

We unquestionably appreciate and welcome the expansion of businesses and industries within the Commonwealth, but respectfully ask that next time the Patrick-Murray Administration be forthcoming about their previous attempts to potentially thwart such an important economic expansion.