What sounds better to you? $637,000 today or $900,000 in the near future?
But first some back story before you answer:
Way back in 2015, Washington state’s HB 1526 became law. The legislation reallocated 100% of the aircraft excise tax to the “Washington State Department of Transportation aviation airport aid grant program.”
Previously, just 10% went to the grant program, while the remaining 90% was directed to the state’s general fund.
Upon passage, the Washington State Department of Transportation used those funds to leverage more than $10 million in federal matching funds the state’s airports used to build, re-build and maintain their various assets.
Here’s where it gets good. The state’s Department of Revenue forecast, as airport projects were completed, the state would collect $900,000 in sales and Business & Occupation tax back into the general fund. Payback.
HB 1526 was originally sponsored by Representative Tom Dent.
But the legislation was really formed by the efforts of the Washington State Aviation Alliance (WSAA). WSAA’s mission is “to serve as a collective voice for aviation and airport-related organizations to protect and promote aviation in the state of Washington.”
As you might imagine, the WSAA has garnered a good amount of goodwill in the state’s capitol as a result of delivering on the promise of returning more to the general fund than was originally redirected.The alliance is made up of combination of voting, non-voting and associate members, such as the Washington Airport Management Association, the Washington Pilots Association, Washington Public Ports Association, Washington Seaplane Pilots Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, General Aviation News, Centerpoint Aviation Law, airports, colleges, and more.
In order to move forward with WSAA support, fully 100% of the voting members must agree. One no vote will scuttle WSAA support. And with such a diverse membership, getting all parties on the same page is no small task.
In the case of HB 1526, it worked out as a win-win-win. The state’s airports win, the pilots win with better maintained infrastructure, and the state wins with more money in the general fund.
So, what sounds better to you?