U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, introduced a bill Thursday to extend bonus depreciation for another two years.
Bonus depreciation allows buyers of new general aircraft to deduct half of the cost, plus the normal depreciation, from their taxes in the first year after purchase. The effect will be to allow buyers to recover the value of the aircraft in three years instead of five.
The special federal tax provision was set to expire at the end of the year.
Tiahrt said he hopes the extension of the provision that front-loads depreciation will drive new sales — or least keep from further hurting sales — in the hard-hit plane-making industry.
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Wichita planemakers have cut more than 13,000 jobs as sales have tumbled in the last year.
"They don't want a hand-out," he said of aircraft workers. "They want to work."
Losing the existing depreciation incentive could make that worse, he said.
Tiahrt said depreciation has a big impact. When a similar law was enacted following the Sept. 11 attacks to encourage sales, a salesman told Tiahrt that he sold more planes in the first six days than in the previous six months.
Katie Pribyl, spokeswoman for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, said her group strongly supports the bill.
"Any legislation that will boost sales and bring back workers is important," she said.
General aviation has lost more than 19,000 jobs across the country.
Tiahrt said he doesn't expect the bill to be particularly controversial, but it's important that it be inserted into whatever general tax bill that is voted on.