Four County Tax Levied On Private Airplanes Owned
Four of Kentucky's 120 counties are levying taxes on personal
property, including private airplanes owned by corporations, and
the result, according to critics, is a negative economic impact on
And the tax is no small "fee." According to airport manager Rob
Barnett, Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport (BWG), the
2006 local property tax for one Lear jet at BWG was
"These taxes are a huge obstacle for airport operators who are
trying to attract a corporate operator,"
Barnett said. "We have several corporate aircraft. All those
registered in Kentucky received a bill like that. You can imagine
the uproar we're hearing from these folks."
"Local school boards had not assessed that tax in many years,"
Barnett noted. "Many aircraft owners were not aware of it. I'm not
sure why they've started levying the tax."
The tax, Barnett confirmed, is chasing airplane
operators away. "Here in Bowling Green, we're 20 to 30 miles from
the Tennessee border," Barnett said. "Up in Lexington and northern
Kentucky, planes are going into Ohio."
The impact, according to The Heartland Institute, affects
existing jobs, tax revenue, and ability to attract new business to
the Blue Grass state.
Said state Sen. Richard Roeding, whose district includes all of
Boone County - one of the four counties included in the law, "This
tax has been chasing the private aircraft industry out of Kentucky.
Corporate jets are going to Ohio, Tennessee, and other border
Fayette, Jefferson and Warren counties are the other three
counties with the ability to levy the tax.
Airports benefit from the presence of corporate jets with
revenues from items such as additional hangar leases and fuel sales
increase. Airport jobs also increase for support staff such as
airplane mechanics, Barnett added.
Airport usage also impacts FAA funding; the more planes that use
an airport, the greater the funding, Barnett said.
Local school districts in the four counties oppose eliminating
the tax. According to Roeding, the tax brings in about $2 million
annually in the four counties.
"A couple of liberal
lawmakers won't even talk about it. They say you're helping the
rich and hurting the poor," Roeding said. "I say this is an
economic development issue. Getting rid of the tax will help
Roeding cited a recent conversation with Dan Tobergte, chief
executive of the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development
Corporation, who said Procter & Gamble had considered expanding
in Kentucky and moving seven corporate jets there in 2006.
The company opted to expand in Ohio and keep the jets there.
Four hundred jobs that would have been created in Kentucky did
not materialize, Tobergte noted.
"We're not certain we would have won them, but this tax did put
us at a disadvantage," Tobergte noted. "Most states have eliminated
this tax for corporate jets. Ohio, across the river from us,
eliminated it a while back."
Tobergte said he and other economic development officials plan
to lobby lawmakers for legislation mandating the elimination of the
tangible property tax on aircraft.