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GA advocates pan Rhode Island fuel tax billGA advocates pan Rhode Island fuel tax bill

A reinvigorated general aviation advocacy effort may be getting its message across to policymakers in Rhode Island, who acknowledged the aviation community’s opposition to a proposed jet-fuel excise tax at a legislative hearing.

Aviation groups oppose a proposed tax on jet fuel in Rhode Island. Photo by Mike Fizer.

AOPA and local aviation groups opposed the 7-percent tax proposed by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation at the June 5 hearing of the House Finance Committee, pointing out that the proceeds of the tax appeared likely to serve only the state’s air-carrier service airport, Green State Airport in Providence.

In what seemed a nod to that resistance, RIAC’s chairman “suggested an amendment to the legislation to exempt the state’s four GA airports from the tax,” said AOPA Eastern Region Manager Sean Collins, who testified against House Bill 8065 on behalf of AOPA’s members in Rhode Island. AOPA testified against a companion bill in the Senate in April.

“We remain opposed to the bill as written, but we do welcome protections for the GA airports, and RIAC’s recognition of the burden that a new tax would create,” he said. “This acknowledgement also confirms that officials are listening to the GA community and we commend them for that.”

At present fuel prices, the proposed new tax would equate to a 45-cents-per-gallon price increase, “an amount that is uncompetitive and, more importantly, unjustified,” he said, reiterating an objection registered during the previous hearing on the Senate’s version of the bill.

The Rhode Island Pilots Association and the Rhode Island General Aviation Business Owners Association joined with AOPA to present a united front against the measure, and several air carrier representatives also criticized the proposal at the hearing, Collins said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, State Legislation, Taxes

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