A public hearing on two Massachusetts bills that would eliminate the state’s targeted sales tax exemption for aircraft brought out representatives of the state’s aviation sector in force to register opposition.
When the state established its exemption on aircraft storage, sales, and maintenance in 2002, the action created a “booming aviation maintenance sector” and added to the state’s total of based aircraft that now generate $846 million in state and local revenue, said AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins in testimony before a joint legislative hearing June 20.
State Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-4th Middlesex), the House chair of the Massachusetts Aviation Caucus, also testified in opposition to the repeal efforts. Joining them at the hearing on the two bills, H.1467 and S.1497, were Robert Mallard, president of the Massachusetts Airport Management Association; Don McPherson, owner of Minute Man Air Field in Stow; and representatives of the National Business Aviation Association.
Collins said he hoped lawmaker education as well as strong advocacy by a united aviation sector would make future Bay State battles over the tax exemption unnecessary.
“Each new legislative session brings repeat efforts to repeal Massachusetts’ strategically vital sales tax exemptions,” he said. “Fortunately, Massachusetts’s pro-aviation/pro-airport policies have proven so successful that every other state in New England, and New York, have enacted similar legislation to help their airports and aviation businesses compete.
“Arriving at these hearings in force with the local aviation industry reinforces how important these exemptions are to the states. Fortunately, most Massachusetts legislators seem to understand that,” he said.