Florida legislators are beginning debates on two bills that would allow pilots to visit the state with the new planes without fear of paying a use tax.
Senate Bill 300 and House Bill 51 have each passed the first round of their respective committees, according to Paula Raeburn, executive director of the Florida Aviation Trades Association, who was present in Tallahassee when the bills were introduced March 25.
Senator Stephen Wise (R-5) presented a bill to members of the Commerce Committee that would allow non-residents of newly purchased aircraft to come to Florida for up to 21 days during the first six months of ownership with no fear of having to pay a use tax. Representative Ralph Poppell (R-29) had earlier presented the companion house bill to the House Economic Development Policy Committee.
Raeburn reports that she spoke to both committees to explain how passage of the changes to the current statute would be a positive step to help Florida shed its image as being unfriendly to aviation. She added that, more importantly, the change has the potential to bring much needed tourism and business dollars to Florida.
Over the past few years, Florida has received national press coverage as pilots who have owned their aircraft less than six months have come to Florida only to return home to find a use tax bill waiting for them. Florida has also lost aviation events as organizers do not want to expose attendees to a possible use tax for attending, she said.
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