State legislation in Maryland that redefined taxable aviation fuel and allowed for the removal of obstructions around general aviation airports was signed into law during the 2017 legislative session. A bill that would increase aviation-sector competitiveness with other states by exempting aircraft parts from the state sales tax was headed in the right direction, but did not clear both Houses before the legislative calendar expired.
That list of lawmaking efforts made up the legislative scorecard that AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins summarized June 9 in a discussion at the Maryland Regional Aviation Conference, held at the College Park Airport and sponsored in part by AOPA.
“After a busy legislative session in Annapolis, participating in the Maryland Regional Aviation Conference is a good opportunity to network with fellow aviation advocates, take stock of what has been accomplished, and more importantly, take a constructive look at how we might improve those efforts going forward,” Collins said. “Improving communication between each other as well as our respective memberships is always the best first step toward continued success.”
In a discussion reviewing legislative achievements of 2017, Collins noted the passage of a measure “altering the definition of aviation gasoline for purposes of the motor fuel tax” and an airport-safety bill granting “an exemption from the Forest Conservation Act for the cutting or clearing of trees to comply with a certain provision of law relating to obstructions to air navigation.”
A new effort will be on the advocacy agenda for 2018 to win passage for a measure “to exempt aircraft parts and components to be installed or affixed to aircraft” from state sales tax that unanimously passed the state Senate but then stalled. AOPA has pointed out that without such action, Maryland “may soon be the only state taxing aircraft parts and components from South Carolina to Maine.”
Supporting local aviation organizations such as the Maryland Airport Managers Association strengthens advocates’ efforts to bring aviation’s case to legislators and other policy makers, Collins said.