May 1, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
The Michigan House has passed an AOPA-backed bill that would fund state aeronautics accounts without increasing the already-high state tax on aviation fuel and other products.
House Bill 4025 passed the House 81-29 on April 26 and was referred to the Senate, where companion legislation is also on the move. Passage of a bill would amend a sales tax law by dedicating a share of tax proceeds from sales of fuel and other aviation products to the state aeronautics fund, providing money to maintain and upgrade aviation infrastructure.
The legislation’s progress in 2012 is a departure from previous legislative sessions that were marked by efforts to increase the aviation taxes, as AOPA reported on June 22, 2011.
“After a period of uncertainty on the bill’s future, the Michigan House of Representatives took an important step forward with this vote to preserve the aviation system and its more than $4 billion economic impact in the state,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.
Support for the AOPA-backed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Dave Agema in the House and by Sen. Tom Casperson in the Senate, is building, Kimberling said. AOPA has worked jointly for its passage with the Michigan Association of Airport Executives and the Michigan Business Aviation Association.
Throughout the effort, AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds has traveled to the capital of Lansing on numerous occasions to explain the importance of the bill to lawmakers.
AOPA has also rallied members, urging them to contact their state legislators and express support for the legislation.
“We will continue to work with the bill sponsors, committee members, and leadership to obtain complete passage of the bill,” Kimberling said. He asked members in Michigan to keep watch for further requests from AOPA to participate in the legislative process until final passage is achieved.
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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