Legislative & Regulatory Issues

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Mayors Petition President: No User Fees

December 28,2012

Mayors and other leaders from more than 115 cities and towns across the country have petitioned President Obama to rescind his proposed “$100-per-flight” tax on general aviation (GA) business flights. The petition was released recently by the Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA).

“We can tell you firsthand that [GA] aircraft are a crucial tool and resource for businesses in our communities,” read the petition. “[They’re] businesses that keep our communities afloat and help workers... continue to put food on their table for their families.” The group reminded the president that GA supports 1.2 million American jobs and contributes over $150 billion in economic impact each year.

In Ohio alone, GA annually generates more than $5.5 billion of that benefit and supports some 17,000 jobs. Gov. John Kasich earlier this month declared December “GA Appreciation Month” in the state, citing the activity’s “critical role” in business and agriculture, and 15 Ohio leaders were among those who signed the petition.

“We are thrilled and encouraged that so many mayors across Ohio and the country have signed our petition and recognize the critical importance of general aviation and local airports for their local community," said Selena Shilad, executive director of AAAA.

In the petition, the political leaders reminded the president that GA is a vital part of the economy for thousands of communities around the country and essential to the national air transportation system. The group expressed “extreme concern” about repercussions from several presidential statements this year denigrating business aviation.

“As you know well, the vast majority of businesses and organizations that own and utilize GA are not wealthy CEOs,” the petition states. “Rather, 85 percent are small to mid-sized businesses and organizations that rely on these aircraft to reach far-off plants and customers, serve rural markets without access to commercial aviation, or deliver medical care and other services.”

The petition also touched on user fees proposed for GA aircraft operators. Not only would new taxes be an additional financial burden, the group wrote, but a huge administrative burden on businesses, farms and organizations that use GA aircraft.

“[They] would have to literally keep track of invoices for fees for thousands of takeoffs and landings,” according to the petition. “At a time when our government is supposed to be finding new ways to reduce government spending, we do not understand why some in Congress seek to create a huge, new bureaucracy within the FAA to administer these new taxes.”

The local political leaders offered to work with federal officials and the Obama administration to find alternatives to new taxes on a hard-hit industry.

“At such a vulnerable time for our economy, we need to be doing everything we can to support jobs and help to stimulate our economy, not crippling an important industry which represents a lifeline to communities such as ours around the nation,” the petition says.