Nevada lawmakers considering tax breaks for aviation industry

Bill O'Driscoll
View Comments

If Nevada is going to compete for aviation services and the emerging, potentially lucrative commercial drone industry, it must be more business-friendly in terms of tax relief surrounding states already offer.

That was the message Thursday to a joint legislative hearing to consider Senate Bill 93, which would offer partial tax abatement for aviation-related businesses and is being pushed by the Governor's Office of Economic Development as well as the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.

"This is a game-changer. We can do this in a way that's very bipartisan. We stand shoulder to shoulder today," Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, a Republican sitting alongside Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, a Democrat from Clark County, told the Senate Revenue and Economic Development and Assembly Taxation committees.

Michael Tretheway, a Wisconsin economics analyst hired by the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, told the hearing that Nevada stands to gain as it's the only state west of the Rockies without aviation-related tax benefits to businesses.

"Aviation is a very footloose industry. Aircraft will go wherever costs are less," he said of the maintenance industry. "There are very few states left with no tax abatements or exemptions. Your state is surrounded by states that do have them."

Tretheway characterized Nevada as the "gold standard" for potential growth in high-paying jobs, as many as 15,000 statewide over a 10-year period mostly in Clark County, especially with the emerging commercial drone industry.

"Nevada is well positioned. There are no other places in the world where I have made such a glowing report," he said.

SB 93 has been promoted in Northern Nevada as a way to spur growth, as well as create jobs, around Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority properties, including 500 acres at Reno-Stead Airport, which is one of four sites in Nevada for federal unmanned aerial systems testing for the eventual commercialization of the drone industry.

But it's not just drones that have the attention of area business leaders, but the loss of business, notably in aviation services, to other states.

"We're missing out on a lot of economic activity and jobs. We're at a competitive disadvantage," said Marily Mora, CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, during a hearing break.

SB 93 would offer qualifying businesses partial abatement on personal property and sales taxes for up to 20 years. A similar measure, Assembly Bill 161, would limit abatements at 10 years.


What it does:

Offers partial abatement of property or sales taxes for up to 20 years for new or existing businesses that own, operate, manufacture, service, maintain, test, repair, overhaul or assemble aircraft or aircraft components.

Who's eligible:

New businesses with 5 or more full-time employees with one year after receiving certificate of eligibility; existing businesses that will increase full-time payroll in Nevada by 3 percent or 3 employees, whichever is greater, within one year of receiving certificate of eligibility.

Businesses must meet at least one of the following requirements:

• Make a new capital investment of at least $250,000 in Nevada within one year of eligibility.

• Maintain tangible personal property with value of not less than $5 million during time of abatement.

• Pay an average hourly wage not less than 100 percent of average statewide wage as set by state.

• Develop, refine or own a patent or other intellectual property or be issued a type certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration.

View Comments

Download FREE 'News Finder' on your Android 1.6+ device from FREE 'News Finder' Google Play QR-Code

Google Play Store
News Alert on Google Play Store, FREE