By Keith Laing – 09/27/11 11:07 AM ET
President Obama should stop criticizing corporate jets owners – and not proposing user fees to tax them – a group that advocates for business aviation said Tuesday morning.
The Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Aviation Across America released a letter signed by mayors in 43 states calling on Obama to leave corporate jets out of his populist pitch to voters as he pushes for his deficit reduction plan and his proposed “American Jobs Act.”
Private aviation, the alliance argues, creates jobs too.
“The president has consistently referred to businesses that use general aviation aircraft as wealthy CEOs who deserve additional taxes,” Alliance Executive Director Selana Shilad said on a conference call Tuesday. “It makes no sense to move from the existing fuel tax mechanism.”
As part of the deficit reduction suggestions the president made recently to the supercommittee of lawmakers who have been tasked with cutting an $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit, Obama proposed a per-flight fee on private aircraft that could be as high as $100. The administration has said the fee would generate $11 billion over ten years.
During the debate over raising the debt ceiling this summer, Obama frequently accused Republicans of preferring to preserve tax breaks for wealthy private jet owners than average Americans. In one news conference, he invoked tax breaks for corporate jet owners six times in about an hour’s worth of remarks.
But members of the Aviation Alliance, including mayors of small towns whose airports handle a large share of private airplane traffic, warn that all noncommercial plane users are not wealthy.
“I cringe every time these types of comments are made,” Wichita, Ks. Mayor Carl Brewer said Tuesday.
Wichita, which is home to major private aircraft manufacturers like Cessna and Beechcraft, is nicknamed “the Air Capital of the World.”
Brewer said the general aviation industry generates $10.4 billion of economic activity and 47,000 jobs in Kansas alone.
That makes Obama’s remarks and tax proposals “something that’s a real challenge for us in the state of Kansas,” he said.
The aviation alliance says that it’s letter has been signed by 77 mayors.
Source: THE HILL