June 13, 2012
By Benét J. Wilson
AOPA President Craig Fuller used a panel discussion at the Florida Aviation Trades Association’s (FATA) Annual Meeting and Trade Show June 12 to give an update on general aviation topics including user fees, the fall elections, and state advocacy efforts. Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, joined Fuller on the panel.
User fees were at the top of the agenda, with Fuller noting that in 1981 as a staffer in the Reagan White House, he battled on this issue. “Congress has repeatedly said user fees for GA are a nonstarter, but that has not deterred the administration from continuing to put forward new proposals,” he said. He credited the 184 House and 37 Senate members of the GA caucus for holding the line on user fees.
Commenting on the fall elections, Fuller noted that along with the president, voters will also elect one-third of the Senate, the entire House, and many governors—any and all of whom can have a significant impact on the future of GA. “AOPA is helping to make the GA presence felt with events at both national conventions,” he said.
AOPA is also recognizing governors who have shown support for GA in their states, because advocacy at this level also matters, said Fuller. “There have been numerous attempts to create or raise taxes for GA, including some here in Florida,” he observed. “But none of these efforts have been successful in more than two years, thanks to the vigilance of the GA community.”
AOPA and FATA worked together on a bill that was signed by Gov. Rick Scott March 28 that expanded the state’s sales tax exemption on aviation maintenance parts and labor to include lighter turbine and piston aircraft.
Aircraft Power and Fuel,
AOPA’s Central Southwest regional manager recently put GA’s utility to the test with a whirlwind trip covering four states, seven airports, and nine meetings.
Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill adding aviation to an existing recreational-use statute.
Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Ind., has withstood three separate attacks—in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2002—to close it and redevelop the land. Now, it's thriving.
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