Washington State aircraft owners are rallying the troops to fight a new tax that could add hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars a year to their fixed costs. The proposed tax would levy a 1% excise tax based on the value of aircraft. Under the measure, a plane worth $100,000 would be taxed $1,000.
The proposed tax, recommended by a citizens’ commission on tax preferences, was brought to the attention of the Washington Pilots Association by State Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R), who told the association that the commission views the tax as a “revenue opportunity” and is recommending the state legislature impose it.
“From what I can gather, it is suggested that the legislature look at raising the tax as an ‘opportunity’ to backfill the budget gap,” said John Townsley, who keeps tabs on government and how it impacts aviation for the WPA. “Given the dire situation of the state budget I’m sure raising the excise tax will get a hard look, and may appear in legislation this session.”
Townsley is asking all Washington pilots to contact their elected representatives and let their opposition to the tax be known.
“It’s not enough just to say we don’t want it,” he warned. “Pilots, aircraft owners, and businesses that depend on GA should contact their legislators in Olympia to explain why significantly increasing the excise tax would be counterproductive in the current economic climate. They should explain the impacts in very personal terms. How will they suffer from this tax? Why is the tax unjust and unwarranted?”
The tax proposal raises a lot of questions, he added. Among them, what will the impact of the tax be on aviation businesses? “It is conceivable that some businesses might change their business model, as in hire less staff to pay for the tax rather than someone’s salary.”