- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law Monday a tax break to help New Mexico’s aviation industry.

The new law, which takes effect in July, will remove the state’s gross receipts tax from the sale of commercial aircraft. Lawmakers approved the change during a 30-day legislative session that ended last month.

The governor signed the legislation in Roswell, where two companies refurbish, maintain and store aging commercial airliners.

With the new law, industry officials contend the companies can attract more business because New Mexico will be competitive with other states that don’t tax commercial aircraft sales.

“This will create jobs and encourage growth in the Roswell Air Center and in New Mexico’s aviation industry,” Dale Mullinax, vice president of operations for Stewart Industries, said in a statement.

Besides storing commercial airlines, the Roswell company dismantles planes to sell spare parts.

According to a Taxation and Revenue Department analysis of the legislation, “When the aircraft is put into storage, the carrier does not know whether it will be sold or refurbished. New Mexico businesses are currently at a disadvantage compared to Texas, Florida, Kansas and other states that do not tax commercial aircraft sales: carriers are reluctant to take an aircraft that might be sold to a state where that sale would be taxed.”

The governor’s office said the Roswell companies, Stewart Industries and AerSale, may be able to create 125 new jobs over the next five years by bringing in more work because of the tax change.

The governor also signed legislation to:

-Allow horse racing tracks to exclude horse owners from track property if their license has been suspended or revoked license for administering performance-altering drugs to a horse. State officials contend the new law will keep owners from continuing to race horses while they’re challenging sanctions imposed by the State Racing Commission for giving illegal drugs to a horse.

-License and regulate third-party pharmacy benefit managers that administer prescription drug insurance plans.

-Require testing of newborns for heart disorders. Hospitals will screen babies to detect low oxygen levels in the blood, which can be a sign of possible heart problems. The testing uses a sensor that’s placed on the newborn’s skin.

With the new screening, the governor said, “more New Mexico babies will grow up to live happier, healthier lives with their families.”


Follow Barry Massey at https://twitter.com/bmasseyAP .

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