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Pennsylvania touts aviation sector

Pennsylvania economic development officials have taken another step in their effort to promote the competitive edge the state’s $23.6 billion aviation sector gained with the passage of a key tax exemption.

To spread the word about the elimination in 2013 of a 6 percent tax on the sale or use of fixed-wing aircraft parts and services, Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development has added an aviation page to the agency’s website, explaining how the tax exemption works, and providing other strategic information.

“This new section includes information about the fixed-wing tax exemption; facts and figures about the economic impact of the aviation industry in Pennsylvania, number of aviation facilities in the state, the aviation workforce, and more; and a brand new interactive airport map that provides key statistics and information on airports across the state,” Philadelphia-based Tierney Communications said in an announcement. “Paired with PASiteSearch, an online commercial real estate research tool, businesses can now make an informed initial assessment of the Commonwealth.”

AOPA reported in November 2014 on economic development officials’ move to launch an outreach effort to the aviation community about the tax exemption and the state’s competitive geography and demographics.

The more economic development officials educated themselves about the aviation sector, they told AOPA, the more they realized how significant the dollar-cost savings could be for aircraft operators—including the owners of 6,000 general aviation aircraft.

Although Pennsylvania had more based aircraft than any bordering state except New York, its aircraft maintenance and repair business, with 2,900 employees, lagged far behind the job-creating activity of competitors in nearby states before the exemption passed, they said.

Other states have also eliminated or narrowed sales-and-use taxes in efforts to spur competitiveness in their aviation sectors. But Pennsylvania’s outreach effort—coordinated with the state’s Transportation Department—was an innovation that AOPA has encouraged other states to emulate.

A feature of the new aviation page is an interactive map of public-use airports. A business prospecting for a new location in the state can click on an airport symbol and see a summary of the airport’s facilities, communications, ownership, contact information, and nearby attractions. Or a user of the map can sort and select aviation facilities by clicking on search icons for commercial airports, paved runways, heliports, turf runways, or seaplane bases.

The site also informs visitors that Pennsylvania’s combined state and federal investment in aviation facilities adds up to $120 million annually.

Users who like what they see can jump from the aviation page to a “PA SiteSearch” page where they can do specific research “for your next expansion or relocation.”

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Advocacy, Taxes

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