The March 18 newsletter from the Florida Aviation Trades Association (FATA) asked its members and others involved, in any way, in aviation there, to “reach out” to state legislators who are “looking at state exemptions to see what should be repealed in order to increase tax revenue to Florida.”
Florida’s legislators, like those in most states, are facing difficult budget problems. During the first two weeks of March, the House Finance and Tax Council met to review tax exemptions granted to many different industries. Three aviation exemptions were on the review list. FATA’s executive director, Paula Raeburn, attended the meetings and testified on behalf of the trade association and Florida aviation in general. Her message to them focused on the importance of aviation to Florida’s economy. “That is the message we [all] have to convey,” she later told FATA members.
“The exemptions in place were put there to act as an economic tool to allow the aviation industry to compete effectively for aviation businesses and jobs for Florida. The mood of the legislators is to repeal exemptions if they think the increased revenue is significant to help offset budget shortfalls. It is going to be difficult to realize any new exemptions, but we continue to work to have the aircraft use tax statute rewritten so it does not penalize owners of newly purchased aircraft if they fly to Florida during the first six months of ownership. Our position has been that Florida will actually see an increase in revenue because aircraft owners will come to Florida and spend money, which translates into revenue for the State and income to businesses of all types in Florida, not just aviation,” she said. “The tourism industry benefits, retail businesses and restaurants will benefit. In fact, all segments of the economy would benefit.”
Raeburn pointed out that FATA members and others directly connected to aviation “know our industry, but the majority of legislators do not know how important general aviation is to the economy of Florida and also the many services it provides from emergency medical evacuations, law enforcement, agriculture and travel and tourism.” General aviation airports provide more than 23,000 jobs, $630 million in payroll and $2.3 billion in total economic activity, she stated.
She asked everyone involved in Florida aviation to “stay in touch with your state representatives and senators and remind them about the importance of our industry.” Their contact information is at www.myflorida.com. Click on government for specific contact information.
“Please voice your support for our industry,” Raeburn said. “One person is not as effective as many. FATA may speak for the industry as a whole, but when legislators hear from constituents it is more effective. We are following other bills but, to date, there as been no significant status change. Click here to view the bills we are monitoring.”