This is important to general aviation and you – please read the following email.
There is a movement in Sacramento, most likely driven by the Governor’ office, to reduce budgetary charges, which has landed the Airport Land Use Commission/Plans (CSM-4507) on a list of commissions to be eliminated (it actually changes the ALUC language from mandatory to optional, which will mean the demise of this critical function).
This is surprising to us since aviation pays its own way in the form of numerous annual aviation taxes, and is by no means a drain on the General Fund.
Our information is that in the past, two SOCAL ALUC’s submitted combined expenses of over a million dollars, and this ill-advised action is the state’s solution to eliminate future liabilities from ALUC’s.
First, that amount sounds excessive to us, and Second – we can’t help but wonder why a detailed audit wasn’t accomplished as opposed to a denial of the ALUC claims, and then choosing a worst case scenario – shut down all ALUC’s.
While we recognize the state’s financial issues, eliminating the Airport Land Use Commissions/Plans function is truly a penny wise and dollar foolish action. ALUC’s were created to provide the community with a safety factor and to reduce the noise associated with airport operations.
Evidence abounds, in the form of closed airports and encroachments, indicating some airport sponsors have made questionable decisions regarding incompatible development around airports. Imagine what could happen without ALUC’s.
In choosing this option, the state appears to have conveniently ignored what it collects in annual aviation taxes. According to our information, the state collects approximately $400+ million annually in aviation specific taxes (i.e., sales tax, tax on aviation fuel, aircraft registration, property tax on hangars and even the ground aircraft are tied down on, etc.).
Unfortunately, the state does not reinvest the aviation monies collected back into aviation. In fact, less than 2% is returned for aviation related expenses and/or operations. The remaining money is distributed as follows: by law 72% to the local municipality/schools, and 26% to the General Fund (this is a battle for another day).
Eliminating ALUC’s is unacceptable to the California Pilots Association, as it should be to you. So what do we do?
First, we need to mount an all-out communicative effort on the Governor’s Office along with the Director of Finance of the California Department of Finance. It is clear that neither has any idea of what aviation means to the state. We are asking each of you, yes, that means you, to write to the Governor, copying the Director of Finance (please send a letter to each – addresses are included in attached PDF).
You need to write to the Governor to provide your feedback on this ill-advised effort. Please be advised that form letters do little to convince any politician versus an individually written letter.
We have provided a PDF attached to this email as a guide for you. We are asking you to step forward and do your part by writing a letter to the Governor. The PDF provides some speaking points. Again, please put these in your own words.
When writing your letters please remember the following:
- Please be respectful and courteous
- One page will be enough – get to the point
- Copy the appropriate people (CalPilots, AOPA, EAA, your local airport/pilot org, etc.)
- Please share this information with your organization and fellow aviators and ask (push) them to write too
- Please send a copy of your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org so we have a copy to refer to, and to take to the Governor personally if he chooses not to respond.
There are 60,000 active pilots in this state. Many have been and remain the silent minority. It is time to speak up for yourself and your love of aviation. If you do not, and continue to assume “someone else will take care of it” your choices of where to land will diminish over the long term.
Please read the additional information on this web site and check the letter we have sent both the Governor and the Director of Finance. Each should be in receipt of the letter by now.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this important action to save our airports.
Ed Rosiak – President
California Pilots Association