Excise Tax Looms In Washington State

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Less than a year after a similar tax proposal was quashed, Washington State legislators have introduced (PDF) to impose a 0.5 percent annual excise tax on the value of all GA aircraft in the state. AOPA is calling on the state's pilots to mount the same sort of organized and focused campaign that killed the first tax. The bill was sponsored by 13 state representatives and AOPA members in all those districts have been sent letters urging them to buttonhole their representative and tell them what a bad idea it is. AOPA says the tax could cause "irreparable harm" to Washington's aviation industry at the cost of thousands of jobs.

The funds raised in the annual assessment are earmarked for healthcare as Washington, like many other states, grapples to make ends meet, but AOPA says it's not the way to balance a budget. "However well-intentioned the effort to find increased revenue to support healthcare and fix the budget shortfall, this excessive tax unrelated to aviation will only stymie the economic recovery by inflicting damage on an already fragile industry," AOPA says, noting the tax could ultimately lose the state money as businesses and airplanes move to avoid the burden.