Rigby, Idaho – According to President Obama’s proposed budget for next year, a possible $100 per-flight user fee could come into play for the aviation industry.
The Obama administration says the fee will generate over 7 billion dollars over the course of a decade and that the money would go toward financing airport investment and air traffic control system costs.
If approved by Congress, the fee would apply to general aviation operators, which would then be paid to the Federal Aviation Administration. For Brandon Visser, an agricultural pilot for Visser Ag Inc., this tax would leave his business with a hefty bill.
“It consists of a $100 take-off fee and we average about three take-offs per hour, so based on last year’s numbers it would be around $400,000 burden on our business,” said Visser.
Visser uses his aviation skills for crop protection and other ag-related responsibilities. However, the ag industry wouldn’t be the only industry affected by this tax. Aircraft tourism along back-country strips and even aerial fire-fighters, like Bruce Spaulding, would also be subject to pay the fee.
“We’re not going to be able to absorb those fees and continue to provide the services that we do. We would have to pass those fees on to the government agency which would, in turn, require a lot of federal dollars to implement their programs as well,” said Spaulding.
Of course, there would be some exceptions to the user fee. Military, and piston aircrafts, along with any aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace would be exempt.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter recently submitted a letter to the President to voice his disapproval of this tax and expressed the importance of general aviation to the state of Idaho.
Source: Local News CBS 8 (Idaho Falls, Idaho)