Nine Florida lawmakers recently gathered for the inaugural meeting of the state’s first general aviation (GA) caucus.
Co-sponsored by state Rep. Charles Van Zant and state Sen. Thad Altman, the caucus held its initial meeting Oct. 22, with a second gathering tentatively scheduled for January during the regular legislative session.
The caucus marked the culmination of efforts by the Florida Aviation Business Association (FABA) to have a group in the state legislature that would recognize the industry’s importance.
“Given the significance of general aviation, including business aviation, to our state, there was an obvious need for such a caucus in the Florida legislature,” said FABA Executive Director Jenny Showalter. “I’m very hopeful that this caucus will help lawmakers gather useful information to help them make their decisions affecting our industry.”
Florida ranks among the top three states in total economic impact from general aviation in terms of gross domestic product and total jobs supported by the industry, according to a 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers study commissioned by National Business Aviation Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and six other aviation groups.
The Florida GA Caucus is expected to play a significant role during the 2016 legislative session as the legislature considers a tax exemption on aircraft sales and related services, according to NBAA officials.