The Honorable Bob Taft
State of Ohio
Vern Riffe Ctr., 30th Fl.
77 S. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Governor Taft:
As president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest general aviation organization with over 398,000 members nationwide and 14,000 members in Ohio, I wish to express disappointment in the Main Operating Appropriates budget (Am Sub HB 0095) that dramatically increases state aircraft registration fees.
Amended Substitute House Bill 0095 no longer scales to the seating capacity of an aircraft, but instead sets the fee at $100 regardless of aircraft size. Under the proposed flat fee, a typical four-seat general aviation aircraft would experience an 800-percent increase in registration costs over the present fee system. That owner of an aircraft, comparable in size and utilization to your typical family car, would be required to pay exactly the same as a corporate business jet operating for business and weighing more than 70,000 pounds. This is most certainly not fair!
In comparison, the state's current annual passenger car registration fee is about $23 per year and scaled to the size and use of the vehicle. A scaled fee structure also exists when it comes to the registration fees for boats. Adjusted annually, the overall range for boat registration fees runs from $5 for small rowboats to $31 for the largest boat. Still, far less than the $100 proposed to be charged to aircraft.
State aircraft registration is an ineffective means of government financing. Attempting to fund aviation maintenance and repair through raising aircraft registration fees will cause aircraft operators to register their aircraft in neighboring states with more attractive fee schedules. The Federal Aviation Administration's registry of aircraft reveals there are 10,878 aircraft federally registered in the state of Ohio. This is two times more aircraft than what the Ohio Bureau of Aviation considers as being registered. This begs the question of practicality.
The Ohio Senate recognized AOPA's concerns and removed the aircraft registration fee increase provision from the Senate Substitute House Bill 0095. However, conference committee members chose to reinstate the $100 aircraft registration.
Governor, as Ohio celebrates 100 years of aviation, do not let the birthplace of aviation become the first state to tax it out of existence. Your support for aviation can be demonstrated by utilizing your line item veto authority on the aircraft registration fee increase proposal in the budget bill before you.
June 24, 2003