Last updateFri, 18 Apr 2014 7am

Incentives offered to aircraft industry

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In the upcoming session of the Alabama Legislature Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan), joined by many other house members, will sponsor HB 39. This bill is designed to grant a sales tax exemption for any parts, components, and systems used in the conversion, reconfiguration, or maintenance of an aircraft certified as a transport category airplane.

As sponsor of the bill, Lee points out that he introduced the legislation to help industry in his area but quickly found that the incentives created by HB 39 would help many other businesses across the state.

“We are like every other town in the state we are trying to attract business and to keep the business we have,” said Lee. “But as this developed, we all soon realized that Huntsville, Mobile and other cities would greatly benefit.”

In Lee's district, the company PEMCO refurbishes aircraft and is a large employer for the area. Lees says that 350 jobs are directly tied to the aircraft industry here and other smaller businesses rely on those incomes to sell their good and services.

“These types of tax breaks are not unusual,” said Lee. “They are used to keep businesses in an area and to help them grow and employ more people. PEMCO has another facility in Mobile that is larger than the one in Dale county.

According to PEMCO's website they have "five decades of tested and proven aircraft support, PEMCO World Air Services is an industry leader in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for wide and narrow body aircraft and regional jets from around the world." With more than 300 cargo conversions, they are the world’s leading provider of narrow body aircraft cargo conversions. Over the past four decades, PEMCO has brought 26 different cargo platforms to market.

PEMCO facilities are located in South Florida, Southeast Alabama  and Southwest Ohio. PEMCO sites are FAA-certified.

Their customers include United-Continental Airlines, JetBlue Airways and National Airlines.

Lee also points out that this is only based on state tax and the local tax are still applicable. He said that local lawmakers will decided on whether they want to offer the same type of tax incentive. 

Also sponsoring HB 39 are Representatives Moore (B), Chesteen, Shiver, Barton, Weaver, Gaston, Ison, Fincher, Mask, Millican, McMillan, Collins, Johnson (K), Williams (J), Wren, Wallace, Buttram, Sessions, Beckman, Baker, Patterson, Sanderford, Faust, Galliher, Hill, Farley and Clouse.

Congressman Bonnor Issues Statement Supporting Audit of GCCF

By Brandon Moseley

Rep. Jo Bonnor (R- Mobile) says that he welcomes the decision to appoint an independent audit of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).      

The U.S. Justice Department has announced that the department has appointed an independent auditor to evaluate the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Congressman Jo Bonnor announced that he supports the decision to perform the audit.  Rep. Bonnor said, "During his visit to Alabama in late June, I asked Attorney General Eric Holder for an audit of the GCCF.  Furthermore, the Justice Department funding legislation approved by Congress in November also included my request for the GCCF audit.”

"For nearly a year and a half, thousands of coastal residents and business owners have struggled with a failed claims system that has arbitrarily awarded payments and subjected claimants to lengthy delays without explanation.  All of these people deserve to know how Mr. Feinberg has been conducting his claims operations.”

"I look forward to monitoring the progress of the audit and join thousands on the coast in awaiting its results," said Rep. Bonnor.

The Justice Department made public the decision to order the audit when it released a letter from Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli  naming an independent auditor and directing them to immediately begin work on the audit. Association General Thomas Perrelli noted that the auditor's work will be "overseen and directed by the Department of Justice" although Mr. Feinberg has agreed that the cost of the audit will be paid for by the GCCF.  The independent audit is to be conducted by Anthony Lendez and Carl Pegola with CDO Consulting on Park Avenue in New York City and by Kevin Hubbard with BDO Consulting in Houston, Texas.

Following the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig and the release of 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration demanded that British Petroleum (BP) relinquish control of the claims process to an independent authority, the GCCF.  President Barack Obama and BP Chairman agreed on appointing Kenneth R. Feinberg to direct the independent $20 billion claims fund.  Mr. Feinberg previously has served as Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Chief Administrator of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, and was previously appointed by President Obama’s Treasury Department to be the Special Master for Executive Compensation to set executive pay for corporate America.

Many Gulf Coast residents and businesses have since expressed their dissatisfaction with how the claims process has been handled by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Meanwhile, Mr. Feinberg’s firm is reportedly being paid $1,250,000 a month to administer the GCFF.

Representative Bonnor is the Chairman of the House Ethics Committee.  Bonnor is also on the House Appropriations Committee where he serves on the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee; the Defense subcommittee; and, the Financial Services subcommittee.  Alabama’s District One consists of all or part of Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Monroe, Escambia, and Clarke counties.

Some new state legislation will go into effect Sunday

State laws going into effect Sunday in­clude portions of controversial bills on immi­gration and abortion.

Starting Sunday, businesses wishing to obtain contracts, grants or incentives from the state must be enrolled in the federal E-Verify program, which checks the immigra­tion status of would-be employees. The law also requires subcontractors to enroll in E-Verify.

Most of the state's immigration law was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, but U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn temporari­ly blocked the law a few days prior in order to consider legal challenges.

Blackburn allowed most of the law to go into effect in late September but enjoined some portions of it. Federal courts have since blocked other provisions.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizo­na E-Verify system last May. Alabama's pro­visions have not been challenged in the law­suits against the state's immigration law.


Many noted Alabamians died in 2011

MONTGOMERY — Deaths in 2011 of noted figures with Alabama connections in the arts, sports, politics and civil rights included famed storytellers, a former Florida governor and civil rights icons.

Edmund C. Dyas, 71, Auburn football player from 1958 to 1960, died Jan. 23 in Mobile. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior season and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. A three-year letterman, fullback, linebacker and kicker, Dyas set an NCAA record for most field goals in a season with 13 in 1960.

Charlie Louvin, 83, died Jan. 26 in Wartrace, Tenn. He was the last surviving member of the Louvin Brothers duo and a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Louvin, born Charlie Loudermilk in DeKalb County, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He and his duo partner, brother Ira, influenced rock musicians such as Elvis Costello.


Former Sen. Phil Poole and brother Howell arrested after fight

Former Alabama state Sen. Phil Poole and his brother, Bank of Moundville president Howell Poole, were charged with harassment after a fight Thursday night.
Moundville Police charged both men after they were involved in a dispute in the parking lot of the Bank of Moundville, Police Chief Ken Robertson confirmed Friday.
Officers were called to the bank at 6:22 p.m.
“Upon arrival, officers discovered that Victor Poole Jr. and Price Howell Poole were involved in a confrontation that stemmed from an earlier dispute,” Robertson said.
Phil Poole, 52, and Howell Poole, 50, were each charged with misdemeanor harassment and released from custody shortly after on $500 bonds.
The dispute between the men was physical and verbal. Robertson didn’t say what it stemmed from.



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