General aviation advocates are hailing the passage of new legislation that will benefit not only aviation businesses in Florida, but general aviation aircraft owners. Language in a new economic development bill includes sales-tax exemptions for repairs and equipment on aircraft that weigh 2,000 pounds or more. The previous exemption was for aircraft that weighed 15,000 pounds.
GA alphabet groups, including the Florida Aviation Trades Association (FATA), the Florida Airports Council (FAC), and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) worked together to lobby elected officials.
“The passage of HB7087 marks a huge victory for both FATA and the aviation industry that is so vital to Florida’s economy,” said FATA President Sandy Showalter. “I can speak firsthand to the effect that the FBO intangible tax exemption will have — the state had already given my family’s FBO our tax bill and paying it would have wiped out some hardscrabble savings cobbled together during these last few very lean years. This exemption gives us the confidence to fill two open positions that we have been doing without for several months, and that is no hyperbole.
“The sales tax exemption for maintenance on aircraft over 2,000 pounds puts Florida on equal footing with nearby states, thus making our shops more competitive,” he continued. “Today is truly a great day and I couldn’t be more thankful for the help of Eric Prutsman, FATA’s very able lobbyist, and for the assistance of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.”
Lighter single and multi-engine aircraft make up the majority of the aircraft undergoing maintenance in Florida, giving the bill a far-reaching and beneficial potential economic impact, said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.
AOPA worked with FATA, and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, which has a business jet plant and its North American headquarters in Florida, to help HB 7087 move through the legislative process. “This bill passage marks a great day for general aviation in Florida,” said Kimberling.
AOPA credited Sen. Michael Bennett (R-District 21) for his work championing the legislation in the Senate. “The passage of this important legislation will now allow Florida’s numerous world-class maintenance and repair stations to better compete in attracting and retaining business, thereby protecting and creating countless family-sustaining jobs in this vital industry,” he said.
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