Pols Fear Losing Tax Money, But Not Future Business
West Virginia Legislature voted down a measure that would have
eliminated or reduced property taxes on out-of-state airplanes that
are housed at airports within the state. The measure died from
issues in the House of Delegates.
"Sen. (Truman) Chafin introduced the bill and it made it through
the Senate but when it got to the House a lot of things happened to
it and it didn't go any further," said Cindy Pyles, Potomac
Highlands Airport Authority Chairwoman. The Authority operates the
bi-state Greater Cumberland Regional Airport.
People learned it is a problem in trying to bring business to
the state, Pyles said. This raised some questions, according to
West Virginia's Cumberland Times-News.
"Are we open for business or not?" she said, using the slogan
chosen by Gov. Joe Manchin to promote the state.
Airport manager Terry Malone lobbied for this bill's passage for
most of the latter part of the session.
"We are really losing business to the border states that don't
tax out-of-state aircraft," he said.
There are 30 jets based in the state and there are 45 based
across the Pennsylvania border at Allegheny Airport, Malone
Malone said pols are "concerned about the loss of property tax
revenue" but don't seem to realize there is a bigger loss from
potential business revenue because of the tax.
Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. has headquarters in Cumberland, but
keeps its air fleet in Ohio to avoid the tax. Savings are said to
be thousands of dollars each year according to Authority member Lee
Fielder also said there is a company that "wants to come to the
Cumberland airport and build a hangar to house its aircraft, but
because of a potential annual $1.2 million in taxes, the company
has opted out." He said such a deal would bring in $42,000 in real
estate taxes alone.
"When the 5,000-foot runway at the Garrett County Airport is
completed, we are likely to lose some (business) to it as well,"
said authority member Dave Summerfield.
Mineral County collected about $49,000 in taxes on personal
property at the airport last year, according to Malone, but it was
a single airplane that accounted for $39,000 of those taxes. The
owner is planning to move it because of the tax, he said.
Malone also cites a pilot who currently houses his aircraft in
Leesburg, VA rather than at his local airport. He'd rather pay $35
for a Virginia license than $5,000 in personal property taxes in
The airport authority plans to continue lobbying efforts next
year, Pyles said.