November 7, 2013
By Elizabeth A Tennyson
A measure that would cut taxes on general aviation is making its way through the Wisconsin Senate with active support from AOPA.
AOPA’s state legislative affairs team is working closely with legislators to promote the measure, which would create a sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and maintenance. The state’s high taxes have prompted many Wisconsin-based aircraft operators to leave the state for major repairs, hurting local businesses.
Wisconsin Senate President Michael Ellis is spearheading Senate Bill 348. In late October, the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Local Government voted unanimously in favor of the bill, which must now pass two more committees before coming to the full Senate for a vote. Ellis has indicated he hopes the Senate will vote on the measure before the end of November.
“We’re pleased to have Senator Ellis energized about this vital reform, and we laud his aggressive timetable for passage,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. “It’s our goal to see this measure pass the legislature and get to the governor’s desk as soon as possible.”
Although the bill is moving forward, AOPA is also looking at alternative methods for achieving tax reforms.
“Whether it is stand-alone legislation or becomes part of an omnibus economic development or jobs bill, we are constantly looking for additional avenues for passage,” said Kimberling.
A similar AOPA-backed tax measure passed in Indiana earlier this year, and many aviation businesses have reported growth as a result.
The movement to exempt thousands of general aviation pilots from the third class medical certification process is gaining momentum in Congress and the aviation community.
The recent warrantless stops and searches of law-abiding pilots on general aviation flights have drawn the attention of mainstream media.
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
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