Despite a budget deficit, AOPA and aviation allies in Rhode Island were able to work through another challenging fiscal year with the sales-tax exemption on aviation parts, storage, and aircraft purchases still intact.
The exemption has been threatened for the past three years—along with several other nonaviation exemptions—because it has not produced the expected increase in new jobs since it was enacted in 2004. The downturn in the national economy and general aviation industry contributed to the lack of new aviation activity.
AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo sprang into action by corralling members of the state aviation community when a Senate bill was introduced with a House companion bill that would have eliminated the aviation sales tax exemption. With the help of action from the members, AOPA and its state allies were successful in getting the repeal left out of the final budget package.
“While the exemption remains in effect, it is likely that the legislators will look at this and other exemptions again next session as nothing is sacred with a worsening budget situation,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. “Yet these short-term decisions will have long-term implications, as these exemptions are critical to the future economic and job growth and sustainability of the state aviation industry—and this is a message that we will continue to try to drive home.”