An AOPA-backed bill to extend to the year 2021 the share New Mexico pays from its gross receipts tax to the state aviation trust fund was signed into law by Gov. Susana Martinez.
House Bill 242 ensures that the 0.046-percent share of revenue from the gross receipts tax, which has funded aviation programs for all but one year since 2002, will continue beyond a previous expiration date of June 2018.
The funding source provides about $1.1 million per year—representing about 15 to 20 percent of all revenue to the state aviation fund, said Yasmina Platt, AOPA Central/Southwest regional manager.
The funding pays for airport improvement projects financed by state-only grants, and provides 10-percent matches state and local governments must commit when leveraging 90-percent grants from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program for New Mexico’s system of 59 publicly owned, public-use airports, navigation aids, and related facilities.
To date in fiscal year 2016, the division has encumbered $4.2 million toward $39 million in FAA funds and state-only grants, Platt said.
“AOPA made phone calls and sent letters to show support and encourage lawmakers to pass this bill,” she said.
As a return on New Mexico’s investment in its airports, aviation activity produces $3.1 billion in annual economic activity, employs approximately 48,000 state residents, and adds $1.3 billion in payroll. And New Mexico’s airports provide vital services to many entities including individuals, families, churches, hospitals, law enforcement, and numerous small businesses.
“This legislation is a vital step in continuing the adequate development and maintenance of the state’s airport infrastructure. This has become increasingly important to the local economy as the legislature and other state leaders have sought to position New Mexico as a national leader in the aviation and aerospace industry,” Platt said. “Failing to continue this funding source would have jeopardized the state’s short- and long-term aviation funding, including the state’s ability to match federal airport grants that could result in the forfeiture of millions of dollars in additional federal funding. And it could have delayed and eliminated projects that are currently in the Capital Improvement Plan, and brought about a decline in the safety and usefulness of the state’s airports.”