Private pilots may have a bigger price to pay
Alaska plane owners may soon be required to open their wallets to pay for state registration. Governor Bill Walker is trying to use the Department of Transportation to make the change through regulations, which cuts out lawmakers from having to approve the fee.
The proposed plan would require private aircraft owners to register their aircraft with the state for a fee of $150.00. That fee jumps to $250.00 for commercial pilots. All of this, on top of the current Federal Aviation Administration license and registration process for aircraft.
"I kind of think it's crazy just because they are taxing our airplanes and we don't know where the money is going, so, to save the state we're going to tax airplanes," commercial pilot Jacob Williams said. "Why not save things airplanes need like the runways in western Alaska. Even here at Lake Hood, the runway is state funded and some are federally funded and they have potholes and they are tearing up our airplanes. Yet, we are doing million dollar road projects on the highways that are not completely torn up."
Williams feels that if the tax fee went to airplane needy runways or other repairs, the tax could be a good thing. However, in Alaska, the funds would go into the general fund with no way of really earmarking where the money being paid actually goes.
"I pay a Municipality of Anchorage fee to have my plane here in Anchorage," private pilot Bruce Markwood said. "It's a tax and I pay it annually and so to have another tax from the state, it's a double tax and I'm not sure what he's planning with the money."
Some pilots feel it could hurt their business.
"Airplanes are already expensive enough and we have fees," Williams said. "Small business air carriers here, already trying to make a living, with extra fees, if you have a couple planes, the fees could total of one thousand dollars."
If you feel you could be impacted by this you are encouraged to email your comments now through January 5th, 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor Walker also has legislation before the finance committee's in both the House (HB60) and the Senate (SB25) that would triple the fuel tax for aviation, marine and highway use. Placing the aviation fuel tax above the national average according to a release from State Representative George Rauscher.
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