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Alaska EAAers Fight Proposal to Double Local Aircraft Tax

October 21, 2010 — Aircraft owners in Anchorage, Alaska, which includes many EAA members, are threatening a lawsuit if the Municipality of Anchorage Assembly doubles the aircraft tax at its meeting next week, October 26. The Assembly will reportedly consider raising the tax from a flat $75 on all single engine aircraft and $125 on twins to $150 and $250, respectively. The aircraft owners protest that such a tax increase would be discriminatory as it singles out aircraft as opposed to other motorized recreational vehicles like ATVs, snowmobiles, RVs, and boats.

“They are planning to unfairly single out us airplane owners,” wrote Lars Gleitsmann, director of government affairs for EAA Chapter 42, in an e-mail to EAA. At the Wednesday (October 20) meeting of the Birchwood Airport (BCV) Association, members discussed strategy, including letters, e-mails, phone calls, and personal visits to lawmakers to stress their opposition to the tax increase. Gleitsmann vowed that the Anchorage chapter, the Birchwood Airport Association, and the Mat-Su-Valley EAAers would all join the fight to oppose the increase.

“There are about 400 airplanes at BCV alone,” Gleitsmann wrote. “How can a city so totally dependent on Aviation be so rude and ruthless to the activity that makes this place function?”

Aircraft owners also claim that the taxation is largely a cash-grab, saying that other than city-owned Merrill Field, services provided at area landing facilities are funded by state and federal dollars, with no contribution from the municipality.

Information from the municipal treasurer’s office indicate that, as of September 30, 2010,  there are 2,431 active accounts associated with the aircraft registration tax that generate $210,000 in tax revenue, which if doubled would create $420,000 in 2011. The current rates were established in 1995, replacing a former system that assessed a tax based on prevailing mill rates on the value of aircraft.

“EAA members in the Anchorage area are fighting this taxation issue in the correct manner,” noted Randy Hansen, EAA government relations director. “There is always a positive effect when city, county, state, and federal leaders are directly contacted by the citizens who vote for them. We continue to see the positive side of this personal contact effort many times over.”

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