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New law could aid planned Tulsa air carrier

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A bill signed by Gov. Frank Keating could help a proposed Tulsa-based regional air carrier get off the ground.

House Bill 2010, signed Tuesday, provides tax incentives for businesses proposing to base operations in Oklahoma.

State Rep. Russ Roach, D-Tulsa, said the measure broadens the definitions of companies eligible to participate in tax-exempt financing of new businesses. It also clarifies language in the bill that defines an investor's capital commitment as "funds, personal property or real property."

Roach said he hopes the bill will permit Great Plains Airlines to begin flying. The company has raised $15 million in bank funding and is seeking another $10 million in private equity capital. The company proposes to begin direct jet flights from Tulsa to New York and Los Angeles later this year.

"This bill, I think, will allow them to proceed rather quickly," Roach said.

Jack Knight, co-founder and senior vice president of Great Plains, said the bill also allows developing companies to use local government bonding authorities and the Oklahoma Development Financing Authority to get lower financing terms on loans.
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