The Virginia General Assembly
VABA Legislative Update
February 6, 2017
Aviation parts and supplies sales tax exemption moves through House.
HB1738 has come out of the House Committee on Finance to the House floor. Delegate Richard Anderson of Woodbridge introduced HB1738, a bill that eliminates the sales and use tax on parts and supplies used for maintaining, repairing or reconditioning aircraft, including unmanned aerial systems. During the 2016 Virginia General Assembly session, the VABA requested Senator Steve Newman, Lynchburg to call for a study comparing Virginia to its neighboring states relating to the economic impact of state aviation parts and supplies sales tax exemptions offered in surrounding states. The study was assigned to the Joint Commission on Technology and Science as a part of a large study on the economic benefits the aviation and aerospace industry in Virginia. Delegate Richard Anderson, Woodbridge and Chair of JCOTS singled out the sales tax exemption to its own study within JCOTS. With the assistance of the VABA, NBAA, AOPA and GWBAA, JCOTS performed the study interviewing numerous aviation businesses, corporate aviation departments, other state’s aviation organizations and businesses to better determine the impacts such tax exemption in surrounding states was having on Virginia and the aviation industry. The study findings were astounding and bore out that Virginia was exporting easily hundreds of millions of dollars annually to other states on work that otherwise could be performed in Virginia aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities. As a result, Del. Anderson, a retired Air Force Colonel and former pilot patroned HB1738. As of Friday HB1738 was reported out of the House Finance Committee to the full House of Delegates for hearing. Once passed through the House the bill will be heard in the Senate through what looks to be a grueling hearing process. Getting this legislation this far has been no easy task. As the state has faced a budget deficit, lawmakers have been struggling to find much needed revenues to run the state. Giving up much needed tax revenue in a tough fiscal year is no easy task. With the help of Del. Barry Knight, Virginia Beach and Del. Lee Ware, Chairman of the House Finance Committee, committee members saw the economic benefit for passing this legislation forward. Knight, the only active pilot in either house was very instrumental in explaining to others how easy it is for aircraft and rotorcraft owners to go out of state to maintain their aircraft and the resulting cost saving in doing so. Virginia aviation businesses will be asked to call their Senators asking their support for this significant piece of aviation business legislation. To find out who your Senator is please go to the “Who is my legislator” tab, enter your home address to determine your Senator and Delegate. Please email and call your Senator and Delegate to advise of your support for this legislation.
House Resolution declares third week of August as Virginia Aviation Week
Delegate Danny Marshall, Danville, approached the VABA during the late summer looking for a better method to promote Virginia airports. Viewing his own airport in Danville (KDAN), Marshall was looking for a way educate Virginian’s and especially law makers as to the benefit of Virginia airports and aviation businesses and their contribution to the economic vitality of Virginia and the communities they serve. The result is House Joint Resolution 610. With the assistance of AOPA, NBAA and VABA staff prepared the resolution that has passed the House of Delegates and will be heard by the Senate Rules Committee later this month.
Anderson creates Virginia General Assembly Aviation Caucus
At the request of the VABA, Del. Rich Anderson, Woodbridge, the Virginia General Assembly Aviation Caucus has been established to help better educate legislators as to the benefits and needs of the aviation community within Virginia. As we travel the Commonwealth and visit Virginia’s airports, it has become more and more evident of a disconnect between aviation, local and state government and the public in general as to the true benefits Virginia’s aviation community brings to the Commonwealth and the communities they serve. The intent of the Virginia General Assembly Aviation Caucus is to better educate legislators on policy issues impacting aviation and the growth of aviation and aviation assets in the Commonwealth.
Other issues before the Virginia General Assembly
The VABA is monitoring a number of bills relating to the use of drones. While the VABA may support the intent legislators have held with what they want the legislation to accomplish, the VABA has worked to assure that the rules governing the use of airspace is protected. Legislators, rightly so are trying to stop the use of drones for improper uses, including surveillance of others or property and the like. The VABA has held the position that existing criminal statutes on trespass, peeping tom statutes and other activities exist and can be strengthened without Virginia law extended to the use of airspace. History will support us that as the use of drones continues to increase, especially among hobbyist, these types of bills will continue to surface and the VABA will have to carefully monitor such legislation to assure that there are no adverse impacts on the aviation community.
As I write you, the 2017 Session of the Virginia General Assembly is getting ready for Crossover, the date by which each House must complete its work on a bill and send it to the other body. This is the halfway point of the legislative session. This year’s session is unusually busy. This is strange in that it is a short session and an election year. Typically this is a time when legislators and citizens try to take it easy. This year however, legislators, lobbyist, staff and the administration all agree that this legislative session is more intense than most and the legislation being considered is less political but high in substantive policy issues. During the 2017 legislative session 2,544 bills and resolutions have been introduced. As of today 787 bills have failed, 331 passed both houses and 1,668 bills are left to take action on. That number will continue to dwindle as the session moves on. A point of trivia. The Virginia General Assembly deals with as much legislation during its 45 / 60 day period as the United States Congress does during a full year.
Last Wednesday evening we held the annual legislative reception at the Library of Virginia. The event was well attended and from all the responses we have received at this point was also well received. Delegates Richard Anderson, Barry Knight and Danny Marshall and Senator John Cosgrove hosted the evening reception. Please note that Del. Knight is still the only member of the General Assembly that is an active pilot using his helicopter for his business and commute.
Governor Terry McAuliffe joined us at the event making short comments to the crowd of almost 500 - this was the first time a sitting Governor attended the reception, which was joined by a record number of legislators and staff. In addition, NASA Langley and Wallops had a significant exhibit in the library and the following sponsors contributed to making the 2017 VABA Legislative reception a huge success.
There will be more news forthcoming. In the meantime if you need anything from your VABA or have questions please feel free to call me at (804)228-4505 or email me at email@example.com.