Missouri aircraft dealers would sell more aircraft to out-of-state purchasers, and other aviation businesses would also benefit, if lawmakers pass a bill making such aircraft sales exempt from state sales-and-use taxation, Yasmina Platt, AOPA Central/Southwest regional manager, said in testimony before a state Senate committee. Platt also met at the Capitol with lawmakers on AOPA-supported legislation to amend the state’s recreational-use laws to include aviation among activities for which private landowners would be protected from liability.
Testifying at a March 12 hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Platt urged passage of Senate Bill 377, which would create a tax exemption for the sale of aircraft that are not to be based in Missouri, and will be removed from the state within 10 days of transfer of title or a return to service associated with a transfer of title, whichever occurs later. House Bill 1306 was introduced in the Missouri House as companion legislation.
Missouri’s abutting states have all enacted the “fly-away exemption,” placing Missouri at a competitive disadvantage, she said. Platt pointed out current listings of aircraft for sale on which a 4.225-percent tax exemption could result in savings from $760 to $38,000.
“Companies in the state have been losing business to nearby Kansas and Illinois,” she said. “These are not only aircraft dealers but also maintenance businesses that would normally perform pre-buy inspections and aircraft maintenance repairs and upgrades prior to, or soon after, purchase.”
Other consequences of the tax burden on Missouri include disincentives for aircraft manufacturers and dealers to expand in the state, and a loss of local revenue that would otherwise be generated by prospective aircraft buyers and maintenance customers using local hotels and restaurants, and purchasing fuel, she said.
"This bill would finally level the playing field for the businesses in Missouri that have been operating at a significant competitive disadvantage. The minimal loss of sales and use taxes on aircraft purchases far outweighs the loss of business by local aircraft dealers, individual aircraft sellers, aircraft maintenance shops, and other local businesses," she said.
During her visit to Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital, Platt met with Rep. Keith Frederick (R-District 121) to discuss House Bill 263, and Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-District 39) about House Bill 375. Both measures propose amending Missouri’s existing recreational use statute to include aviation among the activities for which landowners would be shielded from liability for allowing public use of their land.
AOPA is also keeping track of several other measures that, if not defeated, could increase aviation fuel taxes, and divert funds from the state aviation trust fund to the general fund, Platt said.