May 12, 2021

NBAA is opposing three bills under consideration by the Massachusetts legislature that would negatively impact general aviation in the commonwealth.

House and Senate legislation has been introduced to repeal the sales tax exemption on aircraft, which would subject aircraft sales to the state’s 6.25% sales tax. The other bill would impose a $1,000 landing fee on virtually all general aviation operations.

Scott O’Brien, NBAA’s senior director, government affairs, said the sales tax exemption repeal has been proposed in the past, and NBAA and other stakeholders have successfully pushed back against it each time. He noted that surrounding states also exempt aircraft sales from the sales tax, meaning Massachusetts would be at a competitive disadvantage if the exemption were repealed.

“Airport managers, fixed-based operators and other industry stakeholders have seen firsthand that the aircraft sales tax exemption brings business and jobs to the Commonwealth,” O’Brien said.

He pointed to a 2019 Massachusetts Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study, which found that aviation activity in the state was responsible for nearly 200,000 jobs and a total economic impact of $24.7 billion, demonstrated that the exemption is critical to a strong general aviation industry.

Unlike the tax exemption repeal, the legislation that would charge a $1,000 landing fee on general aviation is new. Its stated purpose is to “mitigate the climate impact of private and corporate air travel.”

O’Brien noted that the aviation industry has taken a host of sustainability actions, such as setting aggressive climate change goals – including a 50% net reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels; making significant investments in sustainable aviation fuel, which has the potential to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel; and developing electric and hybrid propulsion systems for aircraft.

“General aviation is taking aggressive action to meet sustainability goals and reduce emissions, and this legislation would have a devastating effect on the industry, result in job losses, and not move the needle on sustainability,” O’Brien said. “While this proposal hasn’t attracted broad interest from other legislators, NBAA is actively working to make our opposition known.”

“NBAA is working with many of the local groups in the state – such as the Massachusetts Airport Managers Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association – to have a coordinated industry response to these bills,” added Brittany Davies, NBAA’s Northeast regional representative. “We will keep our members informed of the latest developments and a possible call to action based on additional conversations with state legislators.”

Review House bill 2923 on the sales tax exemption

Review Senate bill 1797 on the sales tax exemption

Review Senate bill 2305 on the $1,000 landing fee