When the Connecticut state legislature recently looked at slashing tax exemptions to pull in extra cash to meet a budget shortfall, it put all of its current exemptions on the table—including one for general aviation parts and maintenance. But AOPA and local aviation groups met with legislators to explain how the exemption brought business and jobs to the state through keeping costs down for pilots, and the aviation tax exemption was removed from the chopping block.
As states across the nation scramble to generate revenue in the face of substantial budget shortfalls, several states have considered wringing extra dollars from the GA community. AOPA has been working to show lawmakers the economic benefits of GA, explaining that extra taxes on GA aircraft will only drive away business and deprive states of crucial revenue.
In Connecticut, the proposed bill would have included a repeal of the exemption for the purchase of parts and maintenance for aircraft weighing less than 6,000 pounds. The exemption was enacted three years ago to attract out-of-state GA aircraft to visit Connecticut for maintenance and to keep the state’s aircraft owners from taking their business elsewhere.
AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo, along with the Connecticut Business Aviation Group and VIP Avionics, met with legislators after the initial bill was introduced to talk about the importance of this exemption—and the potential consequences of repealing it.
“Legislators have to be careful in their scramble for revenue,” said Dotlo. “…because repealing an important exemption like this—in a quick fix for revenue—can severely depress economy activity—and actually deprive the state of revenue in the long-term.”
With more than 2,000 GA aircraft based in the state and 24 public-use airports, Connecticut has a robust general aviation presence for such a geographically small state. The state ranks fourth in per capita general aviation contribution to the economy. So it is especially important to protect the state’s vital industry—and AOPA will continue working with lawmakers to this end.