More aviation jobs, a competitive tax structure for aviation businesses, and a fully funded airport improvement program were legislative objectives pressed at an annual Aviation Advocacy Day event in Albany, New York, March 10 and 11, hosted by the New York Aviation Management Association.
AOPA is a co-sponsor of the event, which Sean Collins, AOPA’s eastern regional manager, attended on behalf of the association’s 13,000 members in the Empire State.
In meetings with legislators and policy makers, aviation advocates pressed the case for an Assembly bill titled the "New York Aviation Jobs Act" that would exempt purchases of general aviation aircraft from sales and use taxes for a five-year period, and establish a study of the measure’s economic and revenue impact.
The legislation notes that the exemption will make New York competitive with nearby states "that already exempt sales taxes related to the purchase of general aviation aircraft. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maine and New Hampshire are a few of the regional states that exempt aircraft purchases from sales tax or provide more favorable tax treatment. NY has lost 700 such aircraft over a ten-year period since 2002." A companion bill has been introduced in the state Senate.
Aviation advocates are urging that a budget bill assigned to the Ways and Means Committee be approved with provisions to fully fund New York state’s airport improvement program, at a minimum level of $6 million. Program shortfalls of $3 million in each of the last two fiscal years were funded from capital accounts, reducing funding available from the State Aviation Capital Grant Program, Collins said.
Advocates also want to see the Aviation Capital Grant Program funded at $40 million, improving on the current no-growth funding level of $10 million that, Collins said, “is regularly cannibalized to match airport improvement program grants.”
"The networking opportunities made possible by the aviation advocacy event also help build membership in the legislative aviation caucus, building awareness of the importance of general aviation and keeping our issues foremost in the minds of legislators," Collins said.
He noted that the gains sought this year would build on strides made in 2004, when a sales tax exemption on aircraft parts, maintenance, and service was approved in New York.
"Member votes count. With nearly 13,000 AOPA members across New York state, members can have an impact by reaching out to their local representatives and requesting support for these and other initiatives," he said.