State lawmakers can help protect the vital general aviation industry, AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro told members of a national association of state legislators July 15.
Pecoraro addressed Transportation Committee members at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Atlanta, Ga., with a talk entitled “General Aviation Serves America: How States Can Protect and Promote this Critical Industry.” He discussed the challenges aviation faces at the state and local level and examples of how good and bad state legislation can affect the industry.
Nevada State Sen. Dennis Nolan, who has worked with AOPA on issues in the past, welcomed AOPA to the conference and thanked Pecoraro for his presentation. “They're a great organization, and we look forward to their input and guidance in aviation issues moving forward,” Nolan said before a task force at the meeting.
State legislation runs the gamut and can help or harm the state and its industry, Pecoraro told the Transportation Committee in his presentation. The recent New York Aviation Jobs Act makes the state sales tax exemption on aviation maintenance permanent, maintaining competitiveness with surrounding states and attracting business. On the other hand, an Illinois bill categorizes GA aircraft as “luxury items” along with “fur clothing” and “jewelry” to impose a luxury tax, which drives aviation consumers and businesses out of the state and places an undue financial burden on small businesses that utilize GA.
“These few examples of state legislation—good and bad—demonstrate the profound effect state governments have on general aviation,” Pecoraro said. “Educating these state legislators is an important part of AOPA's efforts to promote and protect aviation across the country.”