A Massachusetts lawmaker’s quest to reinstate taxation of aircraft sales, maintenance and storage has been renewed, along with opposition by AOPA and other aviation groups and businesses. The Bay State exempted aircraft sales, maintenance, and storage from taxation in 2002, leading to a dramatic increase in jobs and economic activity, documented in studies published by the state.
On July 21, AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins reiterated a now-familiar refrain, noting that the proposed legislation would have an effect opposite of the underlying intent—to reduce aircraft noise at a particular airport—while harming businesses, airports, and aircraft owners across the state.
“After years of re-files, we have become intimately familiar with the particular legislation and the sponsor. The fact is, aircraft owners base their aircraft in the least expensive location,” Collins said. “Ironically, pushing corporate aircraft to base out of state only increases the total number of flight operations for the companies still based here. The result is two transient operations for every one based aircraft operation. That simple fact results in more aircraft noise, not less.”
Collins said AOPA members in Massachusetts can help by reaching out to their representatives to remind them that aircraft ownership is not reserved for the rich and that reinstating the sales and use taxes would undermine a policy that has helped fuel significant economic growth: Between 2011 and 2014, state studies found an increase in 38,000 jobs and $4.7 billion in annual economic activity related to aviation. That activity in turn produces $800 million in state and local revenue each year. Collins said driving aircraft out of state would do little to improve matters for noise-sensitive constituents, but would do a lot of damage to small airports whose low public profiles are mismatched with the benefits they create for their communities.
“The real losers of lost aircraft would be the cities and towns whose airports no longer generate revenues from ground leases and fuel flowage fees,” Collins said.