As Service Economy Means Lower Sales Tax Revenue, States Look
It appears that the proposed aviation excise tax in Washington
State is not the only juicy target for taxation by states
struggling to balance their budgets. The wall Street Journal
reports that some states are considering sales taxes on a number of
services, including aviation.
With high unemployment and people simply not spending as much
money, states, particularly those that rely almost exclusively on
property and sales taxes rather than income taxes, are seeking new
revenue streams to bring their budgets into balance. Many, like
Florida, have a balanced budget mandate in their state
constitutions. But in many of those states, a broad array of
services are exempt from sales taxes, and some in the aviation
community fear that everything from hot-air balloon rides to
charter aircraft services might soon prove too tempting a target
In La Grange, KY, hot-air balloon operator Stuart Crawford is
attempting to bring together people offering aviation services to
oppose that state's attempt to levy sales taxes on many "high-end"
services, such as landscaping, greens fees, and transportation in
charter aircraft. Democrat Jim Wayne, the proposals' sponsor, said
it would simply make the tax code reflect a more service-oriented
economy, and spread the tax burden over a broader base in times of
financial difficulty. "We know that the economy has shifted away
from the purchase of goods to services," he said.
The Wall Street Journal says that tax experts have long looked
to services as a way to broaden the tax base, but more so now in
that companies selling across state lines on the Internet can
sometimes avoid sales taxes. "You can't get your plumbing fixed
over the Internet," said Michael Mazerov, former research director
of the Multistate Tax Commission.