The Sessions of Savings

by Bryan Budds
AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager

Over the last few months, AOPA has been hard at work in statehouses across the Great Lakes Region with the goal of strengthening general aviation and reducing some of the cost considerations which keep some of us grounded. I am happy to report that significant savings to pilot and aircraft owners have been achieved in Indiana and are pending in Minnesota and Michigan. AOPA is also perennially concerned with ensuring that general aviation airports have the funding necessary to maintain the aviation infrastructure that so many of us rely on – and we have achieved significant ‘wins’ on the airports front as well.

In Indiana, AOPA achieved passage of House Bill 1545, which included provisions to exempt Indiana’s highest-in-the-nation aviation fuel tax rates from the state’s 7% sales tax and adjusting the current excise tax – representing a savings of $0.50 per gallon or more on aviation fuel. Also part of House Bill 1545 was a provision appropriating an additional $2 million for airport infrastructure investment and a provision to exempt the parts used in aircraft maintenance from sales tax, again achieving significant savings for those maintaining their aircraft in Indiana.

In Minnesota, AOPA is working with state leaders on a similar proposal to reduce the sales tax on aircraft maintenance, and increase funding for the State Aeronautics Fund (SAF) by dedicating the sales tax revenue paid on initial purchases of aircraft to the fund for reinvestment in airports in the state.

As has been the case in Michigan for the past few years, the aviation industry and the legislature is looking at ways to find a permanent funding source for aviation infrastructure investment and it seems like together we have found the answer in eliminating the current 6% sales tax and $0.03 per gallon excise tax, and replacing them with a 4% wholesale tax on aviation fuel and dedicating that revenue to the State Aeronautics Fund for infrastructure investment. AOPA and local aviation allies feel this provides sufficient funding for airports, while ensuring that Michigan’s fuel tax rates remain competitive, regionally.

I also wanted to extend a big ‘thank you’ to all those that attended the AOPA Pilot Town Hall events in Chicago and Minneapolis. It was great to see such a great turnout and meet so many of you! In the meantime, if you have any questions about any of the issues AOPA is working on, please feel free to email me anytime at bryan.budds@aopa.org or visit www.aopa.org.

This entry was posted in AOPA Great Lakes Report, Columns, Columns, June/July 2013 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply