by Bryan Budds, Manager
AOPA Great Lakes Region
The new year brings one of the busiest times for AOPA’s regional managers and state legislative affairs staff, and this year is certainly no exception. In the Great Lakes Region, we are actively engaged in all eight (8) legislatures and have more than 30 active aviation-related issues.
In North Dakota, the legislature is looking at ways to better support the airport system by expanding the number of airports eligible for state grants. Another AOPA-supported bill would allow some state revenue generated from oil and gas exploration to be used for upgrades at the western North Dakota airports that have experienced huge increases in traffic.
The Minnesota Legislature is considering a wide range of aviation-tax reforms including modifications to the aircraft registration system and sales tax on aircraft purchases and maintenance.
Further to the south, Indiana is considering a bill to exempt aircraft parts and aviation fuel from state sales taxes. Right now, Indiana has the unfortunate distinction as one of the most expensive states in the country to purchase aviation fuel and AOPA has worked hard with key leaders to ensure that aviation can continue to support the state’s economic recovery and create jobs in the aviation sector.
Michigan again is facing another year of funding issues as the 2012 measure that dedicated a portion of sales taxes collected on aviation fuel and aviation products to the State Aeronautics Fund expires. AOPA is hopeful a long-term solution suitable for all can be found.
In between our legislative work, AOPA also is contributing to many aviation events. In early March, AOPA exhibited at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Fargo, North Dakota, and I will be making a presentation at the Wisconsin Aviation Conference in Middleton, Wisconsin in late April, and look forward to seeing you there!
If you have any questions about any of the issues AOPA is working on or have an event you would like to see AOPA at, I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.