Massachusetts Aviation Caucus Rises to the Occasion

 - July 13, 2010, 11:53 AM

Established about five years ago, the Massachusetts Legislative Aviation Caucus has been a bipartisan advocate for general aviation and the nearly 40 GA airports in the state. As membership has grown, the caucus has “gotten stronger, more effective and better organized,” according to its chairman, state Rep. Don Humason (R-Westfield). “Our goal is to be a legislative cheerleader for airports, both private and public use, as well as general aviation.” Although the caucus has no official powers over the budget, the influence of the group was demonstrated recently when Gov. Deval Patrick proposed to repeal the current exemption of aircraft sales taxes, the second attempt in three years. Humason said the caucus was directly responsible for the defeat of this legislation both times. “We were successful in beating back this ill-conceived proposal, but we also recognize that we have to step up advocacy for continuing the tax exemption so that proposals to repeal it don’t keep getting introduced at every budget cycle,” he told AIN. The caucus has grown to about 75 members, nearly 40 percent of the state’s legislative body–and none of the members, interestingly, is a pilot.