Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Denver Officials Extend Bid to United

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Denver Officials Extend Bid to United

Article excerpt


From Staff, Wire Reports

DENVER - Denver officials have announced plans to offer United Airlines a tax incentive package that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars over several years in an effort to secure the carrier's maintenance facility at the new Denver airport.

The Denver Council unanimously approved three ordinances Tuesday night that would exempt United's proposed $1 billion maintenance facility from sales, use and head taxes.

United, which has yet to sign up for a hub operation at the new airport, is considering offers from seven other cities which are competing for the maintenance facility.

A five-day special session of the Oklahoma Legislature held last week to enact laws with tax and financial incentives for the aerospace industry. Oklahoma lawmakers passed a law that authorizes Oklahoma County to hold a special election for a temporary 1-cent county sales tax to be levied for 33 months to raise up to $150 million toward construction of the United facility. The vote is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Another concession Oklahoma would give, only if it was chosen for the site, would be up to $7.6 million in tax revenues, according to State Sen. Ted Fisher, D-Sapulpa, who authored Senate Bill 1 which was passed last week.

A package of tax exemptions in that bill for aircraft maintenance and manufacturing facilities would cost the state from $5 million to $7 million in revenues, he said.

In addition to offering the tax incentives, Denver plans to help United finance the facility, either by providing tax-exempt bonds, making a cash contribution toward construction, or both, he said.

The offer could turn out to be just the foundation for a broader, more expensive offer, but landing the maintenance facility is seen as a key to signing United for a hub operation at the new airport, said Tom Gougeon, director of the mayor's office of economic development. …

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