More than a week after Gov. JB Pritzker vetoed a bill that would have helped Moline-based Elliott Aviation, there remains hope of an override of that veto.
State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, said she believes there is the potential for an override as the original measure, House Bill 3902, passed the state House with 113 votes in favor of it and 48 approval votes in the state Senate.
“I understand the Governor’s veto, but this legislation was introduced to correct an unintended consequence of past legislation. This additional tax will promote out-of-state businesses and hurt the employees who provide for their families,” McCombie said in a statement.
“We cannot tax our way to growth.”
The veto means there will be a 6.25% tax on all parts for mechanically inspecting/servicing and maintaining aircraft, avionics modifications, refurbishment of interiors, aircraft painting, landing gear and component overhauls, as well as on some technical products, Greg Sahr, president of Elliott Aviation, previously told a reporter.
With the veto, a tax could be collected dating back to 2015. The legislation sought to fix an unintended consequence of a 2009 law. Elliott Aviation employs 273 people, or about two-thirds of the workers at the Quad-City International Airport.
Ben Leischner, executive director of the Quad-City International Airport, said the veto was expected.
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“I think a lot of it has to do with the current drive at the governor’s level when it comes to fair taxing and… assuming it has to do with the current drive at the governor’s level when it comes to fair taxing,” he said.
Echoing McCombie, Leischner said he expects an override vote due to the support in both statehouse chambers.
Sahr said Monday the company was disappointed by the veto and “will be working with the Illinois legislature to overturn the veto in the January session. We have no further comments at this time.”
Elliott Aviation has been providing aircraft sales, aviation services and innovative solutions since 1936, its website says. Its work includes aircraft sales and acquisitions, avionics, maintenance, parts, paint and interiors, accessories, aircraft management, charter services and three locations in the Midwest — Moline, Des Moines and Minneapolis.
In addition to the strong support for the bill in both chambers of the statehouse, 35 other states do not tax aircraft parts. That means airlines and private jets would be able to go elsewhere for repairs, skipping both Elliott Aviation and the Quad-Cities due to the 6.25% sales tax.
A three-fifths majority is needed in both the Illinois House and Senate for an override vote.
According to the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, the total economic impact Elliott has to the Quad-City area is about $100 million annually. There is the possibility of a significant workforce reduction at Elliott if the veto is not overridden.
Elliott has added nearly 100 good-paying jobs and invested $9 million in facilities and equipment since 2010, when the exemption was put into place. The issue has also paused Elliot’s construction of a new $1.4 million hangar.