March 2, 2010

Hopes that Washington State representatives would drop a proposed crushing increase in that state’s yearly aircraft tax were dashed yesterday, March 1, with the introduction of HB 3204, the revised House bill that adds a wide range of excise taxes. Among those singled out for an increase are Washington State aircraft owners, who will be hit with tax increases of up to 1,400 percent.

A companion tax bill in the state Senate, SB 6873, was endorsed last week by Senate Democrats, who predicted they already have the votes for passage.

“This is very, very bad news,” said NBAA Regional Representative Kristi Ivey, “not only for aircraft owners in Washington State, but for aircraft owners everywhere. If you are based or do business in Washington State, please speak up now.”

The proposed excise tax would create the highest registration rates in the nation for several types of aircraft. The revised House tax bill even added language to make it clear that aircraft in Washington State need not even fly to make them subject to the tax, needing only a current airworthiness certificate and/or an aviation fuel purchase to “constitute the necessary evidence of aircraft use or intended use.”

NBAA issued a call to action for Members in Washington State earlier last month, and renewed it last Wednesday. NBAA’s Ivey testified February 13 at a House Finance Committee hearing, pointing out that the increase “will make it difficult, if not impossible, for some operators to remain competitive in the marketplace.” She added that some aircraft operators would move to other states, losing jobs and revenue for Washington State.

NBAA’s Ivey noted that time is critical on this issue because the current Washington State legislative session ends March 11.

To access NBAA resources for contacting Washington state legislators and making your voice heard, visit the NBAA Call to Action: Proposed Washington State Tax Increase on Aircraft.