June 29, 2011 By: Daniel McCoy
Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer on Wednesday evening joined a chorus of aviation industry advocates voicing concern about comments made by President Barack Obama and his support of cutting tax breaks tied to business aviation.
During a press conference earlier in the day, Obama called for an end to tax breaks that incentivize corporate jet purchases and usage as part of an overall strategy to cut into the national deficit.
In the press conference, which you can watch here, Obama also said he was in favor of repealing tax breaks to oil companies and hedge fund companies.
“I am deeply concerned about the President’s comments about general aviation today,” Brewer said in a statement. “Particularly during a time when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, we cannot afford additional tax burdens and unnecessary mischaracterizations about the general aviation industry, which drives thousands of jobs, over $7 billion in economic impact here in Kansas alone, and over $1.2 billion in job payroll nationally. General aviation is a crucially important part of our national economy and an economic engine for thousands of communities across the nation, many of which would lose local manufacturing jobs or local business growth if faced with additional tax burdens.”
Not surprisingly, aviation associations were also dismayed at Obama’s comments.
Pete Bunce, president of the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association, and Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a joint statement that Obama’s words and his plan put the entire industry at risk.
“The Administration has a laudable goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years,” Bunce said in the statement. “How then can President Obama attack a manufacturing sector that exported over 60 percent of the value of its products in 2010? General aviation manufacturers can help the president meet his export goals, but not if this damaging rhetoric continues,” said GAMA President and CEO, Pete Bunce.
“Words have consequences and, in this industry, a few misguided words can put at risk even the ever-so-modest recovery we have experienced,” Buffenbarger added. “What this industry and its work force requires is more time to recover, a chance to book more orders and the opportunity to recall more workers.”
Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, said that Obama’s message on Wednesday was counter to the president’s stated goal of job creation.
“The idea that, in the current job environment, we would meddle with a proven formula for incentivizing the purchase of American products is unthinkable, and flies in the face of policies he and other elected officials on both sides of the aisle agreed to just months ago,” Bolen said. “The president has inexplicably chosen to vilify and mischaracterize business aviation – an industry that is critical for citizens, companies and communities across the U.S., and one that can play a central role in the economic recovery he says he wants to promote.”
Source: WICHITA BUSINESS JOURNAL