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Washington State Excise Tax Unresolved As Legislature Adjourns

Special Session Will Begin March 15

March 12, 2010

Concerted action by general aviation interests in Washington State has helped win a short postponement of a new 0.5-percent aircraft excise tax for all aircraft owners in that state. Washington State legislators adjourned near midnight March 11 without agreement on several issues, including the tax that would raise state aircraft registration fees by as much as 1,400 percent.

A special session has been called by Governor Chris Gregoire so legislators can finish their work. The special session will start at noon on Monday, March 15.

“It’s the Members of NBAA, the Washington Aviation Coalition and others who have gotten us this far,” said Kristi Ivey, NBAA Northwest Regional Representative. “Of course, the issue remains unresolved, and we must remain vigilant, and we must continue to make our voices heard.”

When the special session gets underway, senators and representatives will continue debating measures – including the highly contentious bill that includes the new aircraft excise tax – in an attempt to fill a $2.8-billion hole in the state budget.

“There will come a time, likely during the next one to two weeks, when we’ll need one, maybe two big pushes from [everyone],” said Ryan Zulauf, chair of the Washington Aviation Coalition. “Sending our [unified] message in a polite, professional way will carry the day.“

NBAA has recently issued several Member Calls to Action on this critical issue in Washington State, and the Association has joined with several Washington State aviation groups in forming the Washington Aviation Coalition to fight the tax.

NBAA’s efforts to defeat this tax are in part because of the precedent it would set for all state legislatures, most of whom are searching for new funding streams in an era of tightened budgets. Nearly all state budgets are expected to be slashed in the coming year, with the deepest red ink in California, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and Wisconsin.

To access NBAA resources for contacting Washington state legislators and making your voice heard, visit the NBAA Call to Action: Proposed Washington State Tax Increase on Aircraft.