Eastern shore lawmakers push for aviation tax exemption bill
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – This year, local lawmakers are hoping the third times the charm for HB 65 that would exempt sales and use tax for aircraft parts and equipment which airport officials say if passed would have a major economic impact on the entire state of Maryland, including the eastern shore.
“Right now Maryland’s aviation repair industry is shrinking,” said Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Eastern Regional Manager, Sean Collins.
Eastern shore legislators and other local aviation officials are working around the clock to make sure that this year, HB 65 passes with flying colors in the general assembly.
“If we pass this bill we’re going to find economic growth that does not currently exist,” said Delegate Chris Adams.
Currently there’s a mandatory 6% tax applied to the parts and equipment used to repair, maintain, or upgrade aircraft or certain aircraft systems which officials say is hurting businesses locally and statewide.
“Our airport has no maintenance facilities at this time due to the taxation that exists in Maryland. What people don’t realize is we’re losing all the income revenue and our aviation industry to our neighboring states,” said Salisbury Regional Airport Manager Dawn Veatch.
Legislators say for the past two years the bill has passed unanimously through the senate, but the house had their concerns that the state would actually lose money because of the tax cut. But officials say they’d see the exact opposite.
“When it creates jobs it creates payroll taxes it creates an appointment insurance workers comp companies will grow and start a business of doing repair maintenance,” said Adams.
The bill, if passed, would also require airport officials to provide revenue reports each year to monitor the progress of the tax cut.
“I have three projects currently underway that this bill is resting on and it will bring $60 million a year in revenue which is lots and lots of taxes in different ways,” said Veatch.
Local lawmakers add that after they’ve made some amendments to the bill over the past couple of years, they’re hopeful this piece of legislation will get the green light.
Aviation officials add that if this bill passes Maryland would be the 13th state out of the 13 in the Northeast to provide the tax exemption.