Aviation laws take flight in Centennial

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Three new aviation-related bills were signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper, two of which benefit Colorado’s growing aviation and aerospace industry.

The bill-signing took place May 13 in the Denverjet Center lobby at Centennial Airport.

One bill, known as the “Aviation Development Zone Act,” grants Colorado aircraft manufactures a $1,200 state tax credit for each new employee hired, another extends the Colorado job growth incentive tax credit by an additional five years, and the third creates a special license plate for the Civil Air Patrol.

Hickenlooper lauded House Bills 13-1080 and 13-1287 as “huge job creators,” not just for Centennial, but for all airports around the state.

“People often say I spend too much time trying to get companies to put their headquarters here,” Hickenlooper said. “The fact is, for every big company that locates here, there are several smaller companies that come in and feed off the new economic cluster created.”

“That runway out there is not just a piece of concrete that connects Arapahoe and Douglas counties,” said Republican Rep. Chris Holbert of Parker, one of the HB 13-1080 sponsors. “It’s actually a portal to new opportunities.”

House District 43 Republican Rep. Frank McNulty joked that SB 13-060 was not really a jobs bill, “unless you’re an inmate in Canon City.”

The bill, sponsored by McNulty, creates a Civil Air Patrol license plate.

“This is just a small way to recognize the tremendous work this organization does,” he said.

Hickenlooper signed the license plate bill into law on the tail of a Civil Air Patrol plane, much to the delight of several uniformed CAP members in attendance.

According to Airport Executive Director Robert Olislagers, who helped author major portions of the Aviation Development Zone Act, aviation in Colorado contributes an estimated $11 billion to the economy and supports more than 340,000 jobs.

Centennial is currently home to several major aviation and aerospace companies, including Sierra Nevada Corp. and Jeppesen.