2014 Legislative Sessions Are Over… Now It’s Time To Fly & Mingle!

News & Information You’ll Want To Know In
Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska & Iowa

by Yasmina Platt
Manager, AOPA Central Southwest Region

The 2014 legislative sessions in the Central Region (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa) have officially ended. Now it is time to reap the benefits of some AOPA-supported legislation passed this year, and enjoy the good flying weather.

Thanks to the initiative of an AOPA member, Kansas now exempts “amateur-built aircraft” (manned or unmanned aircraft fabricated and assembled by a person(s) who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation) from property and ad valorem taxes, as they do with business aircraft and antique aircraft.

The Missouri legislature eliminated the 2015 expiration date of the sales tax exemption on aircraft parts (materials, replacement parts and equipment used for modification, replacement, repair or maintenance of aircraft, aircraft powerplants, and aircraft accessories). Without it (as we have seen in states where this exemption is not available), based aircraft, out-of-state aircraft, maintenance personnel and maintenance shops migrate to states with exemptions because their original states are not competitive, and business, and therefore revenue, is lost.

If approved by Missouri voters, a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution on the August 5th primary ballot would increase the state sales and use tax by 0.75 percent for 10 years starting in 2015 (excluding purchases that are currently exempt from state sales and use taxes, like aircraft maintenance, food, medicine and gasoline) to upgrade the state’s transportation infrastructure, to include airports. The funds would be spent on projects identified by citizens and other stakeholders (comment period was closed on July 3rd). We have identified two dozen airport projects on the draft list with a total estimated cost of $40 million and I am waiting for the final list of projects as I write this article.

Unfortunately, Missouri’s House Bill 1937 (amendment to the Recreational Use Statute to include aviation activities) came close to passage, but failed upon adjournment when the Senate ran out of time, so keep an eye out for next year as this will come up again.

John Collins, AOPA’s Manager of Airport Policy, and I attended the Iowa Aviation Conference, where we had dinner with several Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers to show our appreciation of their efforts and discuss their airport concerns.

Because of our increased member outreach and “meeting our members where they fly” philosophy at AOPA, we are getting around more to different airports and local aviation events. For example, I attended and spoke at the Missouri Pilots Association (MPA) Annual Convention during the last weekend in May in Boonville. I also attended the American Bonanza Society (ABS) Annual Conference in Wichita, where AOPA President Mark Baker was the keynote speaker on Saturday, and AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg taught a safety seminar.

Following the ABS Conference, I participated in the National Biplane Fly-in in Junction City, Kan., where I had a great time mingling with pilots, discussing AOPA efforts and initiatives, and introducing our next generation of aviators to general aviation. We were also in Iowa in June, where we had a booth at the Fly Iowa 2014 event in Iowa City and the Marion Fly-in. Over 100 kids got a chance to sit in and touch the controls of the Archer we flew up.

I am scheduled to be in Iowa and Nebraska again later in July with the possibility of attending the Abel Island Splash-In/Fly-In, one of only two seaplane fly-ins in our region (the other is in Oklahoma). As always, you can stay up-to-date with my schedule and regional happenings via our Twitter page: www.twitter.com/@AOPACentralSW.

Don’t know where to fly to this summer? I have compiled a list of “friendly regional airports” (airports with onsite restaurants, museums, playgrounds, camping, etc) that you can find on the region’s website: http://www.aopa.org/Advocacy/Airports-and-State-Advocacy/Central-Southwest.aspx. Remember that you can also find local aviation events on the AOPA Calendar of Events: http://www.aopa.org/Events.aspx.

I encourage you to get out and fly. Take a friend, family member, or neighbor with you and explore the skies together and, whenever you have a chance, take kids up flying and show them what general aviation and flying is all about. They will remember the experience forever!

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