South Carolina pilots can soon fly a little farther with their aviation dollars. Amended House Bill 3568 passed the state House and Senate, eliminating sales tax from maintenance performed on general aviation aircraft.
Thirty-seven certified repair stations located across the Palmetto State can look forward to busier times on the ramps as pilots rev their engines to support the 13,600 jobs and $2 billion that general aviation adds to the state’s coffers. The bill goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016.
South Carolina previously charged a 6 percent sales tax to GA parts and supplies, so pilots in the state had to pay higher repair bills for routine maintenance than their fellow aviators who had work done in some of the neighboring Southern states. As a result, maintenance jobs and money flew away to Georgia, Florida, and Arkansas, where lower sales taxes or tax exemptions for out-of-state repair work attracted frugal fliers.
Jared Esselman, AOPA director of state government affairs, thanked the South Carolina House Operations and Management Committee and the Senate Finance Committee for helping make South Carolina more aviation friendly and for boosting the economic engines of the state's airports by exempting sales taxes on aircraft maintenance.
“We were able to get House Bill 3568 passed and eliminate taxes on aircraft maintenance in the state. Representative Garry Smith and Senator Paul Campbell were instrumental figures in working with AOPA and moving this legislation through the state House and Senate,” said Esselman.
AOPA’s South Carolina members took an active role in seeking lower costs when they responded to a call-to-action email alerting lawmakers to the issue.
“Member engagement on state issues is critical to success,” Esselman said, “and I am very appreciative that our members in South Carolina answered the call.”
South Carolina Aviation Association President Don Purcell and Esselman met with key legislators to explain how higher state taxes had a negative impact on the economic development within the state. “Economic development means jobs in South Carolina—and airports are great places for middle class employment,” said Esselman.
In addition to the South Carolina Aviation Association, other aviation organizations including the National Business Aviation Association and the Carolina Aviation Professionals Association offered their support to the financial measure.
The new bill helps promote GA by reducing maintenance costs across the board, and, according to Esselman, “This will lower the cost of everything from oil changes to avionics upgrades.”