ST. PAUL, MINN. – Members of the Minnesota Aviation Trades Association (MATA) joined with members of the Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA), Minnesota Council of Airports (MCOA), Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and Minnesota aviation community at large to meet with their state senators and representatives, March 16, 2016 in St. Paul for “Minnesota Aviation Day At The Capitol.”
The annual event is an opportunity for professional and recreational pilots, aircraft owners, airport officials and aviation business owners to tell their elected officials how important aviation and their local airports are to their constituents and communities. Coalitions and events like Aviation Day At The State Capitol are increasingly popular around the country as a means for members of the aviation community to be proactive in protecting and promoting aviation in their respective states.
The Minnesota aviation coalition suggested that participants start their meeting by introducing themselves, stating where they reside; the name of their business, airport or organization; what their business or organization does; and what the participant does for a living, whether within or outside aviation. Participants can then tell their elected officials how and why they got involved in aviation, either as a career or avocation.
Also, the coalition urges participants to take a moment to explain what their respective organization does.
For instance, the Minnesota Aviation Trades Association (MATA) is a Minnesota non-profit trade organization chartered in 1945, whose purpose is to be a voice for the Minnesota aviation industry. Members consist of any and all aviation businesses, which serve the Minnesota aviation community. MATA works closely with the Metropolitan Airports Commission, Minnesota Office of Aeronautics, Federal Aviation Administration, other trade organizations, and local aviation authorities to address key issues important to Minnesota aviation and its members.
Participants who are members of other state and national aviation organizations can likewise describe what their organization does to benefit aviation in the state and their local airport.
The coalition encourages participants to take time before their meeting to learn a few things about their elected officials by going to the Minnesota House and Senate website and clicking on the link to their elected officials. Having this knowledge beforehand can help with their conversation and shows interest in their elected official (http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/).
The coalition encourages participants to make sure their elected officials understand that the State Airports Fund is totally funded by “user fees.” In Minnesota, the fund consists of aircraft registration taxes, fuel taxes, aircraft sales taxes, and flight property taxes paid by the airlines. In Minnesota, there is no General Fund money deposited in the State Airports Fund.
Other talking points: Minnesota has one of the best systems of airports and air navigation facilities in the country, and is a large state geographically with a small population, when compared to the rest of the country. This means Minnesota receives less federal funds than most states. Thus, Minnesota’s Airports Fund has been used to build approximately half of all airports in the state, and is thereby vital to air transportation, tourism and economic development in Minnesota.
At the conclusion of each meeting, the coalition encourages participants to ask their elected officials if they have any questions, and if participants do not know the answers, they are to tell their elected official that they will get back to them with an answer or more information.
Most meetings are only 15 minutes in length, so it pays to be organized.
For additional information on “Minnesota Aviation Day At The Capitol, go to http://mbaa-mn.org/aviationDay.cfm.
Individuals and organization wishing additional information are urged to email Gordon Hoff at Gordon.firstname.lastname@example.org.