Oppose Onerous Aviation User Fees

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The Obama Administration has proposed creating a new and onerous $100 per flight user fee that would not only impose significant new economic and administrative burdens on general aviation operators who currently pay through an efficient per-gallon fuel charge at the pump, but it will also necessitate the creation of a costly new federal collection bureaucracy.

A bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers, governors, mayors and industry stakeholders continues to support the per-gallon fuel tax, rather than adopt a per-flight user fee similar to the one the president has proposed. In addition, many foreign countries have imposed per-flight user fees on general aviation, and the results have been devastating.

Fuel-based fees do not require a new “Sky-R-S” to administer.

Fuel fees are directly remitted to the federal government, eliminating the need for a large bureaucracy to collect the taxes from hundreds of thousands of individual pilots and aircraft owners. Therefore, fees are collected without the administrative costs required to support a large and expensive bureaucracy of collectors, administrators, auditors and accountants.

Fuel Fees Are Easy to Pay and Difficult to Avoid.

Fuel based fees are easy to understand, and simple to pay, and the process raises few audit concerns. Because fuel fees are included in the amount charged for fuel, it is nearly impossible to avoid paying.

Fuel Fees Are Assigned Fairly, Based on an Operator’s Use of the System.

There is no simpler and more accurate way to distinguish between heavy and light users of the system than to measure the amount of fuel burned. Small aircraft use less fuel and pay lower taxes; large aircraft use more fuel and pay higher taxes. If an aircraft flies a longer distance, it will pay more in fuel fees.

Fuel Fees Provide an Environmental Incentive, Decrease Noise and Congestion.

A surcharge on fuel use provides an incentive for general aviation users to purchase newer, cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft. Additionally, fuel fees by their nature penalize operators that use congested airports which require more fuel use for increased taxi and air time.

Aviation User Fee Resources

Chart: GA Fuel Taxes vs. Per Flight User Fees
Review the advantages of the current fuel fee-based system, from both a government and user perspective. View the resource.

Aviation User Fee News

NBAA Calls on Members to Make Voices Heard in Renewed User Fee Fight
March 10, 2014
NBAA is calling on its Members to use a newly enhanced Contact Congress resource on the Association’s website to oppose the proposed aviation user fee in President Obama’s budget plan for FY 2015. NBAA has provided a new Contact Congress email, pertaining specifically to the president's proposal, so that Members can submit personalized messages directly to their lawmakers. The online resource also provides a Twitter-based message option, which creates randomized tweets for users to send with the hashtag #NoUserFees. send with the hashtag #NoUserFees. Listen to this week’s NBAA Flight Plan podcast to learn more about how Members can voice their opposition by using NBAA’s Contact Congress resource.

NBAA: President Should Ditch Latest Aviation User Fee Attempt
March 4, 2014
NBAA said the latest attempt from the White House to impose a per-flight user fee on general aviation ignores the message sent from Congress, mayors, governors and industry stakeholders that user fees are not the right approach to aviation system funding and modernization. Per-flight user fees are a part of President Obama's fiscal year 2015 spending proposal, released today, which sets budgets for government agencies. Specifically, the page numbered “957” at the link below states: “…the Administration proposes to establish a new surcharge for air traffic services of $100 per flight.” Read NBAA's press release restatiing firm opposition to per-flight user fees.

U.S. House Lawmakers Send Clear Message to President Obama: No User Fees
Feb. 28, 2014
House Aviation Leaders Again Say No to User Fees Four key congressmen have come together again ask President Obama to refrain from seeking new fees on commercial and general aviation operators. "We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our strong opposition to any plan to impose a $100 per-flight fee on commercial and general aviation operators," Frank LoBiondo (R-2-NJ), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, Rick Larsen (D-2-WA), the ranking member of the subcommittee and Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and John Barrow (D-12-GA), the co-chairmen of the House General Aviation Caucus, said in a Feb. 27 letter to the Obama administration. NBAA applauded lawmakers for their continued efforts on behalf of the industry. Read more of the legislators' letter.

U.S. House Lawmakers Send Clear Message to President Obama: No User Fees
April 8, 2013
NBAA today applauded the 223 members of the U.S. House of Representatives – a majority of Congress – who recently delivered a resounding, bipartisan message to President Obama in opposition to his repeated calls for aviation user fees. A staple of the administration's past two budget proposals, a $100 per-flight fee on general aviation aircraft is considered likely to again be part of its fiscal year 2014 budget, to be unveiled later this week. In an April 5 letter to the president, House lawmakers termed imposition of aviation user fees "the wrong approach" for reducing the deficit, and called on the president to "abandon this idea once and for all." Read the lawmakers' letter to the president.

Podcast: Congress Tells Administration – No More User Fees
March 18, 2013
Aviation user fees included in White House budgets have been rejected by Congress in the past, and that will be the case again, if they are included in the annual federal budget plan offered by the Obama administration this year. That is the essence of a letter to President Barack Obama now being circulated among lawmakers in the House of Representatives. "Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them," wrote leading members of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the House GA Caucus. "Aviation user fees have been proposed by different administrations, both Republican and Democrat and again, Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them." Read more about the letter and hear a podcast.

Washington Mayors Protest Proposed GA User Fee
March 7, 2013
Mayors from Washington state added their signatures to an Alliance for Aviation Across America petition over the Obama administration’s proposal for a new “$100-per-flight” tax on general aviation (GA) business flights. The protest by the 21 Washington mayors brings to more than 125 the number of local officials from 48 states who have expressed concern about the economic damage the president’s plan could cause. Read more about the petition.

Georgia Association is Latest Group to Weigh in Against User Fee Proposals
February 20, 2013
The Georgia Business Aviation Association (GBAA) is the latest regional aviation group to ask its congressional delegation to reject the Obama administration's proposed $100 per flight user fee, recommending instead retaining the current "pay-at-the-pump" fuel-taxation method. "The proposed per-flight tax would most certainly aggravate an already bad (economic) situation and cause irreparable damage to this vital industry," wrote David Small, chair of the GBAA. "We stand ready to work with you to educate others about the value of business aviation in Georgia and the nation as a whole." Read more of GBAA's letter.

Virginia Mayors Protest Proposed Aviation User Fees
January 30, 2013
Protests against Obama Administration-proposed user fees for general aviation (GA) continue to surface, as another dozen mayors and city managers have added their names to a petition objecting to the fees. The user fee, included in the president's federal spending proposals, would add $100 for each GA flight. The latest signatures, from officials in Virginia, bring to 126 the number of city and town mayors and managers across the country objecting to the proposed new fee. To date, local officials from 48 of the 50 U.S. states have signed the petition. In addition to protesting the proposed user fees, the local leaders also object to the president's description of GA business flights. Read more about the petition.

Texas Mayor Voices Opposition to Aviation User Fees
January 21, 2013
Addison, TX Mayor Todd Meier knows a good value when he sees it. Approximately one-quarter of his town is comprised of Addison Airport (ADS), a leading general aviation airport in the region, a major employer and revenue generator for the municipality. Noting that a proposed $100-per-flight user fee would significantly increase operational costs of general aviation across the board, Meier recently wrote a letter to President Obama to let him know such an increase does not fly in Addison. “At this point, it appears that [aviation] user fees are being discussed [by the Obama Administration],” Meier said. “The point of the letter is to point out some of the unintended consequences of the user fee.” Read more about Meier's letter in this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast.

Michigan Group Opposes Proposed GA User Fees
January 4, 2012
The Michigan Aeronautics Commission recently sent a letter to its congressional delegation opposing the proposed $100-per-flight user fee as a fund-raising mechanism. “We think that type of tax is a job killer,” said Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA) chairman and Michigan Aeronautics Commission member Roger Salo, who added that MBAA has been pursuing the user-fee issue since it came up at a recent meeting. “We thought there was some urgency to communicate that to our state representatives. We were pleased that [the commission] supported it. The letter emphasized strong ties between local job growth and the continued prosperity of the state’s general aviation industry.Read more about the letter.

Business Aviation Leader Tells Congress: User Fees Would Be 'Devastating' for Industry
September 12, 2012
The owner of a renowned flight-instruction company told a congressional committee that President Obama’s proposed $100 per-flight user fee “is a bad idea” that will harm thousands of businesses like hers. Martha King, the co-founder of King Schools, shared her perspectives in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, on behalf of the NBAA’s 9,000 Member Companies. Read the NBAA release and Martha King’s full testimony.

South Dakota Governor Writes White House In Opposition to User Fees
June 5, 2012
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has added his voice to the chorus of public officials asking President Obama to set aside his proposal for aviation user fees outlined in the annual federal budget plan the president released earlier this year. In a May 25 letter, the governor decried the Obama administration's proposed $100 per-flight fee on any aircraft, citing multiple ways in which business airplanes and other general aviation (GA) aircraft are important to the Mount Rushmore State. "The small businesses, farmers, charitable organizations and first responders who count on GA and utilize the airports which support it represent a strategically vital resource for our state," he wrote. "For this reason, I strongly oppose the imposition of the 'user fee' taxes on GA operators in any form." Read more about Daugaard's message to the president.

White House Tells House Lawmakers: Commitment to User Fees Continues
May 3, 2012
The White House again recently reiterated its commitment to imposing new user fees on general aviation (GA), in response to a call from 195 Members of Congress to abandon the proposal as "the wrong approach" for GA to pay for its use of the aviation system. "The White House's response to Congress shows an intransigence on user fees that is not supported by reasoned policy and shows a lack of understanding of current aviation taxes," said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen. "In fact, studies conducted by government and industry have shown that, through the fuel tax, general aviation pays its fair share for the cost it imposes on the aviation system. Review the Office of Management and Budget letter reiterating the Obama administration's support for user fees.

NBAA Lauds Senators' Letter Opposing User Fees
March 12, 2012
The Association today thanked a group of U.S. senators for reminding President Obama that they oppose the $100-per-flight user fee proposed in the president's fiscal year 2013 federal budget. In a recent letter, 28 senators told the president that bipartisan passage of the comprehensive, multi-year FAA reauthorization bill was "in part because it did not assess new user fees on general aviation." Noting that a bipartisan group of 195 House members likewise recently sent a letter to the president opposing user fees, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, "The letters from the House and Senate underscore the fact that there is bipartisan, bicameral opposition to user fees on Capitol Hill." View the NBAA press release. Read the March 12, 2011, Senate letter opposing $100-per-flight user fees (655 KB, PDF).

NBAA Thanks U.S. House Leaders for Letter Opposing User Fees
March 2, 2012
NBAA thanked the 195 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who sent a letter to President Obama opposing the $100 per-flight user fee proposed in the administration's fiscal 2013 budget. The letter expressed stalwart Congressional opposition to this year's proposed aviation user fee and reminded the president that when past administrations have proposed such fees, "Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them." NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen praised those who signed the letter, saying, "We thank the Congressional leaders whose letter reinforces a clear message of Congressional opposition to user fees." View the NBAA press release. Read a March 1, 2011, House letter opposing $100-per-flight user fees (3 MB, PDF).

NBAA Commends Sen. Murkowski for Calling on President to Set Aside User Fees
December 1, 2011
NBAA commended Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for her recent letter to President Obama opposing general aviation user fees. In her November 28, 2011, letter, Sen. Murkowski takes issue with the Administration's recent proposal to impose a $100 per-flight fee on general aviation aircraft, writing, "The negative impacts associated with the user fees you have proposed would obstruct the Alaskan transportation system and negatively impact the U.S. economy." Read a Murkowski's letter (309 KB, PDF). Read the NBAA press release.