A vacancy has opened for USPA's North Central Regional Director. The regional director is one of 22 board members and serves the membership needs within the region, comprised of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A full list of regional director responsibilities is in Section 1-4 of the USPA Governance Manual.
USPA's by-laws (Article III, Section 5 in the Governance Manual) provide for filling the vacancy by either a special election or by nomination and election by the board of directors. USPA's board intends to elect a successor at the upcoming board meeting February 28-March 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Any USPA member in good standing who resides in the North Central Region and has an interest in serving as the North Central Regional Director may contact any current board member to secure a nomination. (All board members and their contact information are listed in the front of every issue of Parachutist and on the USPA website.) At the board meeting, nominations will be made, and then the board will vote. A nominee's attendance at the board meeting is not required. However, if a nominee is in attendance and is elected, that person may immediately participate in the rest of the meeting as a member of the board.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale’s International Parachuting Commission (IPC) held its 65th Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria, January 29-February 2, producing several historic outcomes that will influence skydiving in the United States and around the world for years to come. USPA National Director and IPC Delegate Kirk Verner represented USPA, assisted by Alternate Delegate James Hayhurst (Director of Competition). Meeting highlights include:
Look for a complete report on the meeting in the April issue of Parachutist. A detailed report from the FAI is available online.
Following a two-year effort by USPA, the U.S. Department of Transportation formally responded to a USPA question regarding the efforts of states to tax revenues from skydiving. On December 30, 2013, USPA received an opinion letter from the Office of the DOT General Counsel asserting that the federal Anti-Head Tax Act (AHTA) preempts any state efforts to tax gross receipts on skydiving operations. The AHTA, passed by Congress in 1973, prohibits states or political subdivisions from “… collecting a tax, fee, or other charge … on the gross receipts from … air commerce …” The DOT letter says, “Aircraft operations carrying skydivers fall under the definition of air commerce …” and makes clear that states cannot tax the gross receipts from the retail sales of skydiving operations, no matter whether the state calls it an amusement tax, an entertainment tax or a tax by any other name. The DOT letter even rebuts one state’s assertion that it was taxing the skydiver’s freefall, not the airplane ride to altitude. The DOT notes that states are permitted to collect taxes on revenues derived from the sale of ancillary goods or services, such as DVDs or T-shirts.
In early 2012, with a growing number of skydiving businesses being audited by states, USPA recruited a legal team to research and draft a March 2012 USPA Memorandum that was provided to all Group Member DZs to use to inform their state departments of revenue that federal law preempts any state taxation of skydiving. However, many state officials dismissed the USPA memo as simply the opinion of a skydiving association. Now the U.S. DOT has issued an official federal opinion, which states cannot ignore. “This is a shining example of how USPA efforts on behalf of DZs also benefit individual skydivers,” said Executive Director Ed Scott. “Proliferation of state taxes on skydiving would surely drive up the cost of skydiving.”
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