January 30, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
North Dakota’s excise tax on aviation fuel would be cut in half under an AOPA-supported bill now before a legislative committee.
The House Finance and Taxation Committee held a hearing Jan. 22 on House Bill 1208, which would cut the state’s excise tax on aviation fuel from 8 cents to 4 cents a gallon without reducing state funding for aviation. Among other benefits, this rate adjustment would immediately make the state more cost competitive with other states in the region like South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Wyoming—all of which currently assess fuel taxes at a lower rate than North Dakota.
The measure is sponsored by Reps. Lawrence Klemin (R-District 47), Mark Owens (R-District 17), and Nathan Toman (R-District 34); and by Sens. Nicole Poolman (R-District 7) and Margaret Sitte (R-District 36).
A revenue transfer provision within the bill would also preserve the current funding level for the state’s aeronautics commission.
“While the fuel tax reduction contained in House Bill 1208 may seem minor at first glance, pilots and aviation businesses certainly understand the fact that, on top of all the other costs associated with flying, even a small per-gallon adjustment will certainly result in a significant cumulative savings over a higher number of flight hours,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. “And, as data and research continues to show, the overall cost of flying—through taxes and otherwise—continues to stymie a more robust increase in GA flying activity. Though the real beauty of this particular legislation is that it is structured to offer these savings to pilots while maintaining the current level of funding needed by the Aeronautics Commission to meet its obligations.”
AOPA will remain engaged with the sponsors and supporters as the bill makes its way through the lawmaking process. The association also issued a letter urging support for HB 1208, Kimberling said.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
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