News & Information You’ll Want To Know In Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota & South Dakota
by Bryan Budds
Manager, AOPA Great Lakes Region
Can you believe we are already halfway through the year? For most of my regional manager colleagues at AOPA, that means much of their state legislative work comes to a close. However with many of the nation’s full-time state legislatures located right here in the Great Lakes, state legislative bodies in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin are also approaching their halfway points and things get ‘interesting’ and keep all of us here at AOPA very busy.
Coincidentally, most of these states are debating funding provisions that will have a significant impact on funding of your local airport, and on the tax rate you pay at the avgas pump.
In Michigan, a pair of bills will significantly increase funding for the state’s airports. These bills would dedicate a portion of the sales tax already collected on aviation fuel to the airport fund and result in more than $10 million being made available for state grants to airports and to secure federal airport improvement dollars. Further south, Ohio is considering a variety of methods to increase the State’s ability to support its robust system of airports.
Two pieces of legislation – one eliminating the sales tax on aviation fuel and imposing a lesser dedicated-to-airports excise tax and a standalone budget appropriation – are being debated in Columbus. Similarly, the Illinois General Assembly is considering a bill that would mimic fuel tax reform achieved in Indiana just a few years ago. This legislation would eliminate the sales tax on aviation fuel and impose a flat $0.10 per gallon excise tax with all of the revenue gained from the new tax dedicated to the airport fund.
In each of these states, AOPA tries to walk the fine line of ensuring that airports are adequately funded, while tax rates remain fair and competitive with regional neighbors. The last thing we want to see is a mass exodus of aircraft searching for a more favorable tax environment outside of any of the Great Lakes states and we have had great discussions with legislators, tax policy advisors, and members of the aviation community on ways to strengthen the region through these and other tax reforms.
Alright. Enough tax talk! Now that summer is here, it is time to talk flying events!
First off, I wanted to personally invite you to the AOPA Regional Fly-In being held this year at the incredible Golden Wings Museum located at Anoka County – Blaine Airport in Blaine, Minnesota, just north of Minneapolis on August 22nd. Having been to this museum many times, I can tell you that the great collection aircraft on display will not disappoint you. Also, while the fly-in officially starts on Saturday, August 22nd, some great events will be going on the evening of Friday, August 21st. Check out www.aopa.org/fly-in to find all the details.
You will also find me at a variety of smaller events across the region.
Right now, I’m still working on a finalized schedule, but I will likely be attending EAA Chapter 55’s Young Eagles Days on June 13, July 11, and August 8 at Mason Jewett Airport in Mason, Michigan. I am also excited to visit Wood County Regional Airport’s Air Fair, August 15, in Bowling Green, Ohio, and a variety of EAA Chapters across the region!
If you have questions on anything covered in this column or want to see an AOPA presence at your local airport event, just let me know.
In the meantime, have a great summer!