Dear Mr. President:
I write to ask for your support in recognizing the vital importance that general aviation has to the economies and communities of Oklahoma and our nation. General aviation supports 1.2 million American jobs, over $150 billion in economic impact annually, and is a vital economic engine for our national economy. The businesses, first responders, charitable organizations and farmers that use general aviation and the airports that support it, represent a strategically vital resource for our states.
While general aviation is one of the most important sectors of our economy, and in fact is one of the few manufacturing sectors that contribute positively to the balance of trade, it has been hit hard by the economic downturn. During the first six months of this year, there has been a significant drop in general aviation aircraft shipments, and billings for general aviation have dropped by almost a quarter. In fact, according to news reports, more than 20,000 aviation sector workers have been laid off during the recent economic recession.
For all states, including Oklahoma, general aviation aircraft and the airports they utilize represent a critical link to emergency services, economic opportunity and global markets. Moreover, whether it pertains to business, crop protection, disaster response, law enforcement or crucially-needed activities such as blood, organ or patient transport, the general aviation community is creating and retaining jobs and saving lives every day.
Putting our nation’s financial house in order must remain the top priority in Washington at this time. However, doing so through new tax burdens on a critical sector of our economy will do more economic harm than good and put thousands of jobs at risk. For this reason, I oppose the imposition of new “user fee” taxes on general aviation aircraft operators in any form.
Thank you for keeping our concerns, the concerns of our citizens, businesses and farms in mind as you move forward.