I have been working with the 2020 Washington County Community Coalition to create new business and employment opportunities at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, and I am very confident that our House Ways and Means Committee has understood the significance of this session’s House Bill 16, (Sales and Use Tax - Aircraft Parts and Equipment - Exemption), and that this is the year that Maryland’s competitive position, relative to all other states in the NE and Mid-Atlantic U.S., will be restored to an equal footing.
More importantly, a favorable outcome for this bill will be the first-evidence of Maryland’s commitment to implement one of the Kirwan Commission’s key goals for Innovation and Excellence in Education, which will in turn benefit the State’s economy and quality of life for all Marylanders.
Today, we have an excellent aviation maintenance training program located at the Hagerstown Regional Airport’s P. I. A. campus. P.I.A.’s curriculum fulfills one of the basic goals of the Kirwan initiative: to provide a viable career readiness training path for Maryland students who do not feel drawn to a traditional post high-school Bachelors Degree program.
P.I.A. provides an excellent career-readiness pathway to a lucrative aviation maintenance career for students who are blessed with the hands-on aptitude and critical thinking skills to become an FAA certified aircraft mechanic. Unfortunately, when our young men and women graduate from this program their only option for finding an entry-level position in their chosen career field is to leave the State of Maryland. Choices made during previous legislative sessions have relegated Maryland to be a non-contender, with no entry-level jobs available. In order to participate in the rapidly growing career opportunities in aircraft, helicopter and drone maintenance, our students have no choice but to move out-of-state post-graduation, where they will stay for the balance of their careers and contribute to the economic development and income of their new home states.
Passing HB16 will create a tremendous new incentive for business growth at Maryland’s airports, will allow our young prospective aircraft mechanics to stay and fulfill their career objectives at home in Maryland and will make massive contributions to Maryland’s economic growth and development. As one Delegate confided to me yesterday in Annapolis, passing this bill should be a “no-brainer”.