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Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 11:49am

Airplane Tax Break Awaits Gov.'s OK

A bill on its way to the governor's desk extends a sales tax exemption on airplane parts. But an amendment to the measure also gives tax breaks to developers of malls, amusement parks and resorts. Some economists say that's a waste of taxpayer money.

The last-minute addition would give sales tax breaks to developers who spend $1 million or more to develop tourist venues.

Sara Beth Gehl of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute says that means some sales taxes paid by visitors goes to the developer, not to the community.

“Typically that sales tax would come to the state or local governments and pay for things like roads and schools and health care and instead it would go to pay the construction costs of a development,” Gehl says.

Both chambers approved the bill with the amendment.

The main body of the measure would exempt sales tax on airplane parts sold for repairs. Supporters say it would help protect jobs at airplane equipment manufacturers such as Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah and Pratt & Whitney in Columbus.

The exemption would expire in 2013.