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AIA Says Aerospace Can Bolster U.S. Economy

ARLINGTON, Va. --- The aerospace and defense industry is a source of economic strength that should be tapped in the stimulus bill to help lead our nation out of very challenging times, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said Thursday.

Speaking during a National Aeronautics Association luncheon, Blakey said one way to take advantage of the industry’s strength would be to include several aviation infrastructure provisions in the bill.

“Additional investment would increase the economic benefits our industry provides,“ Blakey said.

Dedicating $4 billion to fast-track implementation of the NextGen air transportation system modernization would reap huge economic and environmental rewards for decades to come.

Two other steps the authors of the stimulus should take are making the R&D tax credit permanent and repealing the 3 percent withholding rule. These steps would boost innovation and keep cash generated by the industry in the economy rather than government budgets.

“The biggest mistake would be to cut defense and space investments, making our industry a bill payer for other industries that are asking the government to bail them out,” Blakey said. “This would diminish our strength and momentum in the recovery and cost thousands of high-paying jobs. And that, I’m sure we all agree, would be a very bad move right about now.”

Blakey gave an overview of the aerospace industry, highlighting the fact it is still showing modest growth in important measures like overall sales and employment during a timeframe when many other industries have seen dramatic downturns.

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Aerospace Can Bolster U.S. Economy in Challenging Times