February 15, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
The Florida House has voted to expand a sales tax exemption to most light general aviation aircraft maintenance costs and the equipment used in the repairs.
House Bill 7087, an economic development package backed by AOPA and the Florida Aviation Trades Association (FATA), passed the House Feb. 15, with provisions making aircraft with a maximum certified takeoff weight of more than 2,000 pounds eligible for the tax exemption now afforded only to aircraft weighing more than 15,000 pounds (and rotary-wing aircraft weighing more than 10,000 pounds maximum certified takeoff weight).
The legislation was introduced by Rep. Stephen L. Precourt, (R-District 41), chairman of the Finance and Tax Committee, and moved directly to the full House, bypassing the committee referral process.
The bill incorporated provisions of two bills supported by AOPA and FATA into the economic development measure approved by the House. Final passage would place Florida among 32 states with tax exemptions that are seen boosting aircraft-repair businesses and employment in those states’ aviation industries.
“This legislation is another step toward creating jobs in Florida,” said Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island), a co-sponsor. “For too long Florida has lost aircraft maintenance and repair business to other states because it hasn't remained competitive in its tax policy. I am confident that this legislation will encourage aircraft owners to visit Florida's world-class aviation maintenance and repair facilities.”
“We are very encouraged with the House passage of this significant legislation,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. “We are now one step closer to finally extending the state sales tax exemption on maintenance to GA aircraft in the state. Lighter single and multi-engine GA aircraft really are the heart of the aviation industry in Florida.
“AOPA and FATA will now turn our attention to the Senate as we continue to work to get this important measure signed into law,” he said.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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