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Metro East aerospace company expands, adds jobs in exchange for Illinois tax breaks

St. Louis Downtown Airport seen from an aerial view, with the St. louis skyline in the background.
Bi-State Development
The St. Louis Downtown Airport is located in both the village of Sauget and Cahokia Heights.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

St. Louis Downtown Airport in St. Clair County is getting 200 new, full-time jobs for the airport’s largest tenant, business jet company Gulfstream Aerospace.

Gulfstream is adding positions for aircraft technicians, installers and supervisors as part of a tax credit agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the company and state officials announced Tuesday.

St. Louis Downtown Airport is located partially in Cahokia Heights and the village of Sauget.

It is owned and operated by Bi-State Development, an economic development agency for the St. Louis region. Bi-State Development also operates MetroLink and MetroBus and the Gateway Arch tram system, riverboats and helicopter tours.

St. Louis Downtown Airport serves customers on private flights, as well as flight school students. Aircraft and helicopter maintenance also takes place at the airport.

As part of Gulfstream’s tax credit agreement with the state, the company also invested $28.5 million to expand its operations at St. Louis Downtown Airport and agreed to retain 498 existing employees.

The credit it receives from the state will amount to the lower of these two options:

  • The sum of (a) 75% of the incremental income tax, the amount withheld during the tax year from the compensation of new employees, and (b) 10% of the training costs for new employees.
  • 100% of the incremental income tax for new employees.

Gulfstream is eligible for the tax credit for 10 consecutive years, the agreement states.
State officials praised the agreement on Tuesday, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker; State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea; State Sen. Chris Belt, D-Swansea; and State Rep. Kevin Schmidt, R-Millstadt.

“They could have gone anywhere in the country, but they are here because Illinois has the workforce and infrastructure,” Schmidt stated in a news release from the governor’s office.

In its announcement Tuesday, Gulfstream said it is also partnering with local schools to help build a talent pipeline in the region. Among the schools are Cahokia High School, East St. Louis Senior High School and the Center for Academic and Vocational Excellence in Belleville.

Lexi Cortes is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

Lexi Cortes is an investigative reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.