Commentary: One small tax deduction could result in one large, permanent expansion of a United States Air Force pilot training mission in New Mexico. The expanded mission could create 638 permanent civilian jobs in the Alamogordo area and bring in 350 to 400 more military families. State Senators Bill Burt and Ron Griggs sponsored the bill that is now law. It is to give a gross receipts tax deduction to the United States Air Force on the construction materials and services to build the facilities for an expanded and permanent F-16 fighter pilot training mission Holloman AFB base near Alamogordo.
“We are showing the Air Force we mean business! In order to compete with other states for this latest F-16 pilot training mission, New Mexico needs to offer this gross receipts tax deduction. We need to do all we can to keep hundreds of jobs and millions of federal dollars in the state. The state is showing it cares, it is always admirable to support our armed forces,” Senator Burt said.
Senator Ron Griggs said, “The Air Force has a shortage of pilots, this particular mission will bring in more and more F-16 pilots that will train to protect us and our allies all across the world. It will also give an opportunity to expand the economy in Alamogordo, grow the base and protect the base.”
Senator Burt said the tax break could result in over $15.4 million being invested in the area over the next three to five years to build five facilities to support the pilot training mission if New Mexico attracts the F-16 fighter pilot training mission to the state. Senator Burt said New Mexico needs to compete with other states such as Texas and Arizona that already offer the Air Force other incentives to locate in their neighboring states.
An additional, Senator Burt said this additional training mission could ultimately help save Holloman from closing down if it is ever threatened with a military base realignment shutdown. Currently, there are two other military- supported pilot training programs at Holloman. Under this expanded mission, the planes used in the pilot training program would be maintained by civilian personnel, creating the over 600 civilian jobs in the area. By reducing the gross receipts rate, the state would not receive $640,000 over the next several years in gross receipts. But will make up that amount with the increase in overall spending when more families move into the state for the new jobs.