April 22, 2010
By Sarah Brown
It wasn’t the first time Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick proposed repealing the sales tax exemption for aircraft purchased in his state. And it wasn’t the first time the aviation community banded together to defeat the proposal.
After a previous attempt to remove the current exemption failed, Patrick again included a provision in his budget proposal this year that would make aircraft subject to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. AOPA, the Massachusetts Airport Management Association (MAMA), the Massachusetts Business Aviation Association (MBAA), and other industry stakeholders again reached out to key legislators and Senate allies to emphasize the role of the tax exemption in drawing aviation businesses to the state, and to reaffirm the detrimental effects of removing the exemption. In a victory for the aviation community, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee chose not to include the proposal.
With firm support from the state Senate in favor of maintaining the exemption, the coalition of aviation groups focused its efforts on meeting with key legislators and writing to committee members in the House of Representatives, where there was more opposition.
AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo and AOPA’s partners in the other Massachusetts aviation organizations worked closely with Rep. Donald Humason, chair of the aviation caucus, who helped educate his colleagues about the economic benefits of keeping the exemption and the aviation businesses it attracts. The Ways and Means committee chose not to include the proposal.
“The coordinated efforts of aviation organizations helped ensure that this detrimental proposal was again defeated,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. “But the fight isn’t over yet. Although the Ways and Means Committee dropped the provision, Rep. Denise Provost has already filed an amendment for consideration when the budget bill goes to the House Floor. The aviation collation will continue its work until the budget has passed both houses without removing the exemption.”
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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