AOPA Manager of State and Local Government Affairs Owen Sweeney visited Des Moines this week to attend the Iowa Public Airports Association's (IPAA's) annual Airports Reception at the state capitol. Sweeney addressed an audience of more than 50 legislators and also spoke with many one-on-one, explaining the significant economic benefits general aviation airports provide to communities throughout Iowa. He encouraged legislators to rededicate to the state's aviation system revenues from aviation taxes and fees paid by pilots as well as properly fund the state's Airport Improvement Program, which provides money for airside enhancements. "We strongly believe that taxes and fees already paid by our members to use these GA airports should be returned to them rather than to states' general funds to be used for unrelated purposes," said Sweeney. Particularly encouraging was a meeting with Sen. Steve Kettering, a pilot himself, who disclosed that he is working on an effort to do just that. Coming off of a successful campaign to rededicate marine taxes to the state's marine system, Kettering will now focus his sights on doing the same for the state's airports.
March 10, 2006