January 3, 2011

Legislatures in two states have already convened their 2011 sessions; 40 will convene in January and the remaining eight in February, March or April. In a challenging economy, many of those legislatures will be looking to increase revenue from any source available, including business aviation.

“All regional business aviation associations should be in contact with their state legislators, especially at this time of year,” said Gordon Hoff, Executive Director of the 400-plus member Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA). “Providing legislators the facts about business aviation helps them craft policies that are equitable, easy to administer and fully fund the state airports.”

Minnesota’s legislative session starts January 4, and MBAA members will be there. This year’s business aviation issues include reforming the state’s annual aircraft registration tax, which is one of the highest in the nation, and bringing up to date the state’s tax on aviation fuels, both 100LL and Jet A.

Although MBAA has been organized since 1955, it wasn’t until 2004 that the association fully realized the importance of legislative involvement. That was the year Minnesota state legislators tapped the state’s Aviation Trust Fund for some $15 million (later, the Fund was restored, but it was again tapped in 2008).

“The minute we got word of this, we asked all the airport managers in the state to question the legislators about the Airport Trust Fund ‘midnight raid,'” Hoff said.

He added that regional business aviation associations are in a position to educate state legislators and impact policy developments, because “it’s Minnesotan to Minnesotan.” To help Members in their local advocacy efforts, NBAA offers the free booklet NBAA’s Member Guide for Building a Relationship With Your Elected Officials. More help is available here.

Hoff said that his group would be utilizing other NBAA advocacy resources, including a study recently commissioned by the Association, Business Aviation: An Enterprise Value Perspective and a DVD entitled Business Aviation Works. MBAA representatives will also be armed with the NBAA’s 2010 Business Aviation Fact Book. Taken together, the study, video and Fact Book highlight the value business aviation provides to citizens, companies and communities across the U.S.

“There is no secret ingredient to successful legislative involvement,” Hoff said. “It’s just a matter of getting to know your state legislators. They may agree or disagree, but they always have an open door in our state, and they want to know how business aviation works.”

NBAA Regional Representatives work with all regional business aviation groups and can be valuable resources for mounting an effort to help protect business aviation in individual states. Find your regional representative here .