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Washington State Aircraft Excise Tax Proposal Revived

February 10, 2011 — The Washington state legislature is once again proposing a 1/2-percent excise tax on aircraft based in the state to fund other areas of state operations. HB 1847, which is similar to a proposal that was defeated in April 2010, seeks to eliminate tax preferences that the bill’s sponsors say are obsolete and inefficient. The tax revenues would be used to fund Washington’s basic health care plan. According to a communication circulated by EAA Chapter 79 in Spokane, only minor changes have been made to the previous bill, and the House describes the situation as an "emergency" that warrants raising taxes.

Opponents of the measure argue that currently there are no “preferences” or “exemptions” for aircraft owners and according to Mark Kimberling, AOPA Director of State Government Affairs, “The current cumulative tax liability to own, maintain, and operate an aircraft in Washington is already among the highest in the nation.”

The Washington Pilots Association and the Washington Aviation Coalition are once again leading an effort to counter the tax provision. Washington-based pilots and owners are being encouraged to contact their representatives and to lobby in person at the state capitol in Olympia.

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