Saturday, November 11, 2017

LETTER: Opposed to proposed aircraft fee

To the editor:

I read the Alaska DOT's proposed new aircraft registration/fee (TAX) as published in the Legals small print, back page section of the Alaska Dispatch News on Nov. 5. I am definitely OPPOSED to the proposed changes of a new Aircraft Registration section (17 AAC 41) which would add aircraft registration and fees for aircraft in Alaska.

The Walker’s Administration/ADOT proposal to implement a new registration requirement witha proposed annual fee (TAX) of $150-$250 would seem to be illegal (circumventing the normal requirement for the legislative, rather than the executive branch to implement new taxes on Alaska’s citizens). Simply calling it a “fee” rather than its true effect of an additional significant “tax” on Alaskan aircraft owners seems to be a deceitful means for the administration to unilaterally impose a tax on Alaska residents without going through a legislative approval. There is already a federal registration system with tri-annual fees/taxes for keeping track of airplanes in the USA, there would be no additional purpose for an Alaskan registration system other than to impose additional taxes on Alaskan aircraft owners.

It is my understanding the state has serious financial problems and there are costs with operating the state’s airports. Although I do not favor an increase of any taxes, it is my understanding the Governor’s Aviation Advisory Board looked at various options to help increase revenues and supported increasing the aviation fuel tax (which based on a recent poll, apparently over 3 times as many pilots across the state found more acceptable 67% vs. registration fees 20 percent, although a significant number opposed any increased fees or taxes).

A new state aircraft registration requirement/tax would not be a fair or effective method for raising additional state revenue. Additional state bureaucrats would need to be hired to collect and enforce the collection of this tax, reducing the net income to the state. The Mat-Su Borough also tried a similar aircraft registration/tax, but ultimately repealed it in 2012 as it was not deemed to be a fair tax on this single segment of the population and it brought in a relatively small amount of income after subtraction of the borough’s collection costs in implementation. Unlike the state’s current efforts, the addition and subsequent repeal of this aircraft registration fee/tax program was approved properly under the governing body (assembly) rather than being imposed without legislative approval by strictly the Walker administration.

— Sigurd Colberg


Original article can be found here ➤

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