Mass. aircraft tax exemption repeal returns, now in House

February 3, 2011

After previous attempts to remove the commonwealth’s aircraft sales tax exemption were defeated in the legislature, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick opted not to include the proposal in this year’s budget. But the proposal is still alive in the state legislature, where a representative has introduced a bill to repeal the exemption.

AOPA has reached out to Massachusetts Rep. Cory Atkins, who introduced a bill that would make aircraft subject to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, and is again working to make sure the exemption remains in place.

“Massachusetts’ aircraft tax exemption has made it competitive with neighboring states and has attracted new jobs and investment into the commonwealth,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. “We’re pleased that Governor Patrick chose not to include the repeal in his budget this year, but as long as states face significant budget deficits, we’ll continue to see short-term proposed revenue grabs of this nature—sometimes at the expense of economic growth. We’re taking this bill very seriously.

“We’re confident in our prospects for preserving the exemption, though, because we’ve made a very sound economic argument over the past several years.”

AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo has contacted Atkins to explain the benefits the commonwealth has seen from the exemption: The number of based aircraft in Massachusetts has grown by 40 percent since the governor and General Court enacted the exemption in 2001, and the multiengine and business-owned aircraft fleet have both doubled. A 2005 study prepared by the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission for the legislature found that the increase in based aircraft has led to growth in airport-related activity, creating new aviation jobs and investment.

The association also has allies in its efforts; the Massachusetts Airport Management Association (MAMA), the Massachusetts Business Aviation Association (MBAA), and other industry stakeholders have worked with AOPA in the past to explain the benefit of the exemption and the potential harm of removing it.