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Aircraft tax

I am writing as Co-Chair of the Aviation Caucus in the House of Representatives to thank the legislators from Western Massachusetts who voted to sustain an exemption on the sales tax on aircraft sales, parts, and storage.

During debate on the Commonwealth's fiscal year 2009 budget Monday, April 28, the House voted to raise taxes by nearly $9 million by repealing an incentive that had been created a mere 6 years earlier by the Legislature to attract and promote the general aviation industry in our state.

Representatives Mary Rogeness, Todd Smola, Jim Welch, Joe Wagner, Rosemary Sandlin, Mike Kane, Sean Curran, Anne Gobi, Angelo Puppolo, John Scibak, Chris Donelan, Chris Speranzo, Dennis Guyer, Smitty Pignatelli and I had the foresight to stand up for the jobs and revenue that the general aviation industry brings to our region.

Massachusetts will now be the only state in the Northeast without a sales tax exemption on aircraft sales and parts. We already have the highest excise taxes on aircraft fuel per gallon in New England.

With the Legislature's repeal of the sales tax exemption Massachusetts immediately becomes more costly and less competitive than all of our neighboring states. Who could blame individuals and companies with planes based at Barnes or Westover or Pittsfield for relocating to Connecticut or Rhode Island or New Hampshire? With every plane goes between 4 and 10 highly-skilled, good paying jobs and the revenue from those income taxes and property taxes.

The Legislature and the Governor should be justifiably proud of the incentives we passed for the film industry that encouraged Hollywood movie makers to come to Massachusetts to shoot and produce films here, rather than in competing states. Those incentives have paid large financial dividends.

Airports play an important role in the transportation infrastructure of Massachusetts. They make our state more attractive to the business community. They are economic engines for our Commonwealth. Removing the fledgling incentive of the sales tax exemption on sales and parts will have an unintended consequence of killing the industry and drying up those financial dividends.

Thank you to those legislators who voted to keep that from happening.

Donald F. Humason, Jr.

Westfield's State Representative

Co-Chair, Aviation Caucus