DATED: MARCH 14, 2016
Washington State Aviation Alliance Meeting Summary
First Annual Membership Meeting
March 14, 2016
Hyatt Regency BellevueMeeting Summary
President’s Welcome: Kandace Harvey
Harvey welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order. She asked the Secretary to query the membership to confirm there was a quorum for voting. A quorum was confirmed with six voting delegates and two proxies.
WSAA OFFICERS and VOTING DELEGATES
• Kandace Harvey, WAMA/WSAA
• John Dobson, WPA
• David Ketchum, WSCAA
• Tristan Atkins, WSDOT Aviation
VOTING DELEGATES – General Membership
• Allan Burnet – PNBAA/NBAA
• Dave Whitelaw – RAF
• Stephen Ratzlaff – WSPA
• Ryan Sheehan – WAMA (not present – proxy Kandace Harvey)
• JR Norvell – WSCAA (not present-proxy David Ketchum)
• James Thompson – WPPA
• Jamelle Garcia – WAA (not present)
• John Dobson – (WPA)
NON-VOTING DELEGATES – General Membership
• Ben Sclair – GA News
• Warren Hendrickson – AOPA
• Kristi Ivey – NBAA (not present)
• David Ryan, Arlington Airport/WPA (Board Candidate)
• James Thompson WPPA (for Mike Wren, Board Candidate)
• Nisha Marvel – WSDOT Aviation
• John MacArthur – WSDOT Aviation
• Rob Hodgeman – WSDOT Aviation
• Representative Tom Dent – 13th District, Moses Lake
Kandace Harvey provided an overview of the meeting packet and agenda. She then introduced guest speaker, Representative Tom Dent.
Guest Speaker’s Comments: Rep. Tom Dent (13th Dist. –Moses Lake)
Rep. Dent thanked everyone for attending. He spoke about his long history of being a pilot and his passion for aviation. He emphasized that the WSAA has an opportunity to bring aviation back to the forefront because it is so often an issue that falls through the cracks. Among the topics he covered were the decline in GA, increased drone usage, the upswing in commercial aviation, a major pilot shortage, high gas prices, and the need for innovations in pilot training such as using simulators. He described his vision for Washington to be the center of aviation in the United States. He said that the state has a lot of space where we can grow aviation.
Rep. Dent also emphasized the need to reach out to new industry. He also said we should pursue an aviation license plate that brings the focus on the importance of aviation in Washington. The funds from the license plate could be directed towards aviation education and promotion.
Rep. Dent also answered some questions posed by WSAA President Kandace Harvey:
What actions can WSAA take to help the Aviation Caucus? Rep. Dent said that the Aviation Caucus can accomplish a lot and that the WSAA can help by researching current topics or proposing new ideas.
How can WSAA improve Legislative Airport Awareness Day? Rep. Dent said that legislators are very busy and will go to the events that their constituents are interested in. He suggested scheduling the event far in advance and said that receptions in the Columbia Room are well attended. He also said that personally handing out invitations (index cards with event details) to Legislative Assistants is effective. He said the key is building those personal relationships.
What are some tips for achieving success in Olympia? Rep. Dent said to stay engaged, don’t lose heart, and to just keep talking.
History & Purpose of the WSAA: Warren Hendrickson
Hendrickson talked briefly about WSAA’s history. He said the idea for an alliance started when Ryan Zulauf gave a presentation to the Washington Pilots Association about needing a big tent approach. Ryan and Chuck Kegley then went to the Washington Public Ports Association expressing a need for a coalition, and the WPPA President was supportive. Hendrickson said the catalyst came in Feb. 2010 with HB3176. Many viewed this bill as a threat to aviation and growth. While many groups testified, a common strategy was lacking. Individual groups joined together for a post-hearing strategy meeting and HB 3176 was successfully defeated due in large part to the groups joining forces. Hendrickson said the groups tried to follow up that success with a meeting in the fall of 2010. However, the groups were unable to successfully corral state and national interest groups with any staying power, and the coalition faded.
In 2014 WSDOT completed the Aviation Investment Study, establishing that the state’s share of the overall program need of $3.6 billion is more than $240 million, resulting in an average annual need of more than $12 million. Additionally, in 2014 the aircraft excise tax bill was defeated due to a short session and insufficient support.
This caused aviation associations –WAMA, WSCAA, WPA, WSDOT and AOPA – to come together to investigate the formation of an alliance. Together, they studied nine different states, 11 separate issues and aspects and held six informative meeting. The goal was to form a group with an altruistic vision of serving aviation interests in Washington.
The Washington State Aviation Alliance was officially formed in Dec. 2015 and achieved the following:
• Officer elections
• Membership recruitment
• Administrative systems in place
• Legislative Aviation Caucus interface
In January 2015, the WSAA had the opportunity to go on the offensive when HB 1526/SB5324 was introduced with Rep. Tom Dent as its champion. The Alliance was able to effectively tell the leveraging story and WSAA members testified before the Legislature. The result was a successful passage.
Hendrickson emphasized that the moral to take away is that one group is stronger than any individual. During the 2016 Legislative Airport Awareness Day, the Alliance was able to say that it kept the promise it had made, and now the group has a reputation for being credible and reliable.
Hendrickson said that the Alliance’s strength lies within its collective unity. He said that there may be areas where the group disagrees, but in the areas where they do agree, members should unite because we serve the state better together.
Steering committee- Tristan Atkins, Kandace Harvey, David Ketchum, Dave Ulane
WSAA Officer Annual Reports:
Kandace Harvey (President) said that serving as WSAA President has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences in her professional career. She emphasized that the group would not take on an issue if it didn’t have a 100 percent level of support for it. It is most important to be unified.
John Dobson (Vice President) thanked past WPA President Les Smith for the work that he did. Dobson said that it was wonderful to testify in Olympia knowing that he was speaking on behalf of all of the organizations. He said that the Legislative Airport Awareness Day was successful because we were able to tell our story and show that we made good on our promises.
David Ketchum (Treasurer) presented the Treasurer’s report, which projected about $7,200 in expenses (including Administrative, Website, Meetings and Events, and Misc.) He noted the January – December 2015 report listing assets and expenses. The 2015 Profit and Loss Statement showed a net income of about $1,200. The Statement of Cash Flows showed $2,000 at the end of December 2015. The Profit and Loss Statement from January – February showed a net income of $4,800. The Statement of Cash Flows showed $4,440 at the end of January – February 2016.
President Harvey motioned to approve the Treasurer’s Report. Dobson motioned, Stephen Ratzlaff seconded the motion, and it was approved by all.
Tristan Atkins thanked the WSDOT Aviation staff for its support of the Alliance work. He also noted that he had maintained a WSAA Secretary’s book, which is tabbed, should anyone need information regarding past meetings or meeting summaries.
Around the Table:
Alan Burnett (PNBAA) said that he finds the group and its work thus far exciting and promising. Burnett noted that Washington has become hostile to business aviation in some areas, specifically tax areas. He said that the group wants to advocate for business aviation issues, and tax issues have become a main focus, along with safety and education. Burnett noted that he is happy to help the Alliance where needed, and noted PNBAA’s particular strength regarding tax issues, where they have already done a lot of research.
Kandace Harvey (WAMA) said that WAMA is on board with the group’s mission and purpose. She mentioned Ryan Zulauf for his vision, forward thinking and influence in making the WSAA a reality.
David Ketchum (WSCAA) said that his organization is made up of sponsors and volunteers at smaller airports. He said that since these airports don’t typically have managers, they rely on volunteers with shared responsibilities. Ketchum said that WSCAA helps that group learn more about airport management and funding/sources. They meet every October for an annual conference, usually in Leavenworth. Ketchum said his interest is to make sure that these airports are given resources and that we don’t lose sight of our small airports at the state level.
John Dobson (WPA) said that his organization is a diverse pilot group comprised of 22 individual chapters. He said that its focus is on advocacy, usually with airport and land use issues. Dobson said that WPA relies on the state for education and technical assistance to address varying issues. He said that WPA and WSAA can help each other achieve their common interests.
James Thompson (WPPA), speaking on behalf of Mike Wren, said that he is a registered lobbyist. He emphasized that a collaborative voice, which is represented through WSAA, is so important for pushing issues through. Thompson suggested bringing Washington Cites and Counties into the WSAA membership. He said Cities and Counties could be a real additive to this group.
Dave Whitelaw (RAF) said that his group’s mission is to maintain and preserve recreational airstrips. He said he questioned at first whether RAF belonged in the WSAA, but after talking with Warren, recognized the strength in unity. Whitelaw said that the RAF has worked closely with WSDOT Aviation, and their biggest legislative hurdle was tackled by the late Bob Kay. He said that RAF has more initiatives coming up in the future, and that the strength of WSAA will be helpful.
Stephen Ratzlaff (WSPA) said that his group represents recreational seaplane pilots for the most part, but also Kenmore Air. His group deals with issues around seaplanes, docks and use of public water. Ratzlaff said that the Department of Ecology is putting constraints on seaplane lifts on docks, and is restricting future use of docks for seaplane use. He said that other issues involve Whatcom County, the City of Bellingham and DOE around preventing the transport of invasive species. Ratzlaff said he looks forward to working with the Alliance more to promote access for seaplane operators and safety.
Warren Hendrickson (AOPA) said that he is one of seven regional managers nationwide. He said that the Northwest Mountain Region is his focus and his primary role is to provide airport support and legislative advocacy. Hendrickson said that AOPA is the largest general aviation organization in the world, and has about 9,800 members in WA State alone. He said that WA is leading in the pack in terms of the Alliance and Aviation Caucus, as no other states have these resources. Hendrickson said that he is grateful to be part of this organization, and is happy to support and facilitate whenever necessary.
Ben Sclair (GA News) said his interest in joining the Alliance was to find a way to share the success stories that this organization will generate. He said that legislative discussion is not the most exciting, but that making aviation in this country vibrant again is everyone’s goal. Sclair said he hopes to find ways to tell those stories and increase the sphere of influence for the Alliance.
Tristan Atkins (WSDOT) said that WSDOT serves in partnership with the WSAA. He mentioned that the Steering Committee went to great lengths to separate lobbying vs. non lobbying efforts when it came to WSDOT’s involvement. Atkins emphasized the importance of WSDOT’s membership on the Alliance as both organizations’ mission statements are aligned. Atkins said that WSDOT was asked by Senator Honeyford to solicit the Alliance on possible topics for the 2017 Aviation Caucus. WSDOT will send updated topics to the Alliance and offer another opportunity for input.
Break (Five mintues)
Airport Investment – analysis of potential solutions to funding gap:
Atkins described the purpose of his presentation:
To provide accurate and thorough analysis of possible solutions to the state’s airport funding gap.
To provide technical assistance that supports discussion, decision making and helps shape the Alliance’s legislative priorities.
To encourage the pursuit of legislative priorities that increase funding for airport investments without increasing taxes or fees on the aviation community.
Make a decision today, develop a strategy later!
Rob Hodgman discussed the findings of the Airport Investment Study. He recognized that it was Atkins’ idea to do this study, and it has become a landmark study that has gotten a lot of traction. There were two parts to the study: analyzing the problem, and identifying potential solutions. Hodgman said that after thorough evaluations, 33 potential solutions were reduced to 10.
• The Airport Investment Study estimates that the state’s 135 public-use airports will need $3.6 billion for eligible projects during the next 20 years.
• The state’s share of the overall program need of $3.6 billion is more than $240 million, resulting in an average annual need of more than $12 million.
• At current funding levels, the state’s share of the funding gap is over $8.4 million annually.
Hodgman also said that the studies involved a diverse and robust Advisory Committee with statewide representation.
Potential Solutions included:
1. Public Private Partnerships (P3)
2. Alternative Taxing of Airport Operationally Oriented Uses
3. Alternative Economic Development-Based Consumption Tax
4. Establish a State-Sponsored Revolving Aviation Infrastructure Loan Fund
5. Realignment of Current Transportation Revenue Allocations
6. Reallocate Airport Leasehold Tax to the Aeronautics Account
7. Increase Select Aviation Tax Rates
8. Revise Fuel Excise Tax Exemptions
9. Modify the State Aircraft Excise Tax Program (Variations: State sales tax)
10. Develop a Best Management Practices Guidebook/Toolkit for State Airports
Hodgman described what has happened since the studies have been released:
[▪] #9- Modify the State Aircraft Excise Tax Program
Solutions moving forward—
[▪] #10- Develop a Best Management Practices
Guidebook/Toolkit for Airports
Solutions ‘liked’ by WSAA—
[▪] #4- Establish a State-Sponsored Revolving Aviation Infrastructure Loan Fund
[▪] #6- Reallocate Airport Leasehold Tax to the Aeronautics Account
[▪] And, “Variations” to #9: “Reallocate state sales tax collected on aircraft sales and/or aviation fuel”
Summary of Comments:
David Ketchum: Solution #4 revolving loan fund has the potential of improving the quality of our smaller airports, as they don’t have the monies to develop infrastructure. This might resolve the need for state and federal grants and would increase local focus on airports. This could be a powerful tool.
David Ryan: Solution #6 could help fund Solution #4.
Warren Hendrickson: Colorado has state infrastructure bank with lower interest rates (2 percent and under), which has proved to not be a huge burden and those numbers keep regenerating.
Rob Hodgman: Revenue-producing sometimes does not result in jobs, but sometimes it does. Take note of the job producing potential.
Atkins described the other potential solutions for consideration:
Atkins then presented the decision matrix for choosing priority solutions:
A quantitative scoring mechanism was utilized to score Solutions #6, #9 (variation – aircraft sales) and #9 (new variation – fuel tax). Solution #4 was not considered in the quantitative scoring exercise because Solution 4 requires new funding.
Scoring results: #6 leasehold tax =11, #9 A/C Sales = 5 and #9 aviation fuels = 8
Summary of Comments:
James Thompson: Can you confirm that we are not talking about changing any tax rates?
Tristan Atkins: These potential solutions involve no changes in tax rates. All of these solutions would reallocate fund from the General Fund to the Aeronautics Account.
David Ketchum: The Solutions Study presents possible solutions that are defensible. There was a lot of research done by the study team, and in that way, our tracks are covered.
Warren Hendrickson: There is always a concern when we’re dealing with the reallocation of sales tax because of the volatility.
Break: Lunch and slide show
Determine Legislative Priorities:
Harvey said we’re moving toward legislative priorities. She introduced David Ketchum up to facilitate the discussion.
Summary of Discussion:
Stephen Ratzlaff: There is not a big impact on our membership, but the allocation of funds to the Aeronautics Account is great. My initial thought is that the two #9s are high priorities.
Dave Whitelaw: I concur with Tristan’s evaluation. I am in favor of no new taxes, but diverting the funds to the Aeronautics Account.
James Thompson: I like that #4 involves other funds to be leveraged. I suggest that we start small, and with what is most doable.
Ben Sclair: As a nonvoting member, I like the idea of any of these solutions shifting money from the General Fund for aviation purposes.
John Dobson: Look from the perspective of asking money to be taken from the General Fund for aviation. How can we ally with people who can promote the case for aviation (cities, counties, aircraft manufacturers, etc.)?
Dave Ryan: Regarding the leasehold excise tax – my tenants would rather see that money come back to the airport in some way. This is a positive sell for airport users.
Warren Hendrickson: #4 has a backup fund capability when others aren’t available. Is there some ways to leverage the FRIB to add an aviation component? Oregon has a lottery-funded mechanism that funds bike, marine and aviation projects. How is the leasehold tax applied to airports across the board? What is the scope of the leasehold tax on commercial airports? Where are the largest sources of revenues of the leasehold tax? This will help us identify supporters.
#9 is worrisome because of volatility. Reinvestment strategy helps our cause; make sure the money is invested back into airports. Tackle #6 or #9 first then pump that money to #4.
David Ketchum: #6 takes most of the volatility off the table. #6 is the one that most directly ties to airport users. I favor #6 out of the bottom three.
Tristan Atkins: Whatever solution this alliance intends to pursue, WSDOT will help and support you.
Rep Dent: Every nickel in our budget is used by someone. I am excited about these potential solutions because they aren’t creating new taxes. Solution #9: look at 1 percent or .5 percent to start and show them how we are going to repay. Take some of this money and direct it up to solution #4 – fund it through aviation dollars. Take a little of this money collected on aviation fuel and put it towards #4. I will have staff analyze your decisions. The leasehold tax and tax on aviation sales will be the easiest sells. The fuel tax will be the heaviest lift.
David Ketchum: We want to tread carefully and deliberately. We’re a brand new organization and we must develop credibility and allies, and ensure our friends at the legislature won’t regret our trust. Even not having a particular stance on an issue wouldn’t be a bad thing. If we take a stance, we want to make sure there’s a good chance we can be successful and there is justification.
Kandace Harvey: We aren’t always going to be successful the first time we try something. It’s the long-term goal. If we methodically pursue a goal and continue to reach goals set in a certain period of time – that is success. We should make careful, non-controversial decisions that set us up for success.
Tristan Atkins: The Aviation Caucus has been briefed on all solutions and the ones we want to move forward.
Ketchum went around the table to vote on potential solutions:
Stephen Ratzlaff: Defer to WSDOT and Rep. Dent
Dave Whitelaw: Solution #6
Kandace: Solution #6
James Thompson: No vote (alternate for Mike Wren)
John Dobson- Solution #6
Dave Ryan: Solution #6
Note: Ryan Sheehan, Alan Burnett, James Thompson and JR Norvell didn’t vote on a preferred decision.
Harvey said that since all members were not present to vote, the vote for #6 represented a vote on a preference, not a decision.
Election of 2016-2017 Officers and Board Members:
Mike Wren has volunteered to serve the Board 1 position, and Dave Ryan was present to volunteer for the Board #2 position.
Dave Ryan presented his request to serve on the WSAA Board.
Members completed their ballots to vote on WSAA officers. The ballots were anonymous, with no names marked.
While ballots were being completed, WSAA members were invited to speak about other, non-legislative areas of interest:
Summary of Issues:
• Land use issues
• Department of Ecology permits on docks
• Definition of navigable waterways
• Basic, “welcome” kiosks at smaller airports
• Cell tower issues
• WPA passport project to encourage people to use WA airports
• AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers
• Better promote aviation
• Seaplane museum on South Lake Union
After the discussion, votes were tallied and the new officers were selected unanimously:
Results: David Ketchum, President; John Dobson, VP; Tristan Atkins, Secretary; Kandace Harvey, Treasurer; Board Position 1 – David Ryan; Board Position 2, Mike Wren. Committee Chair Appointments: David Ryan – Membership, Mike Wren – Legislative.
Harvey thanked members again for attending and, having no further business, the meeting was adjourned.