By Keith Laing
A private jet company is chiding President Obama on Thursday for remarks he made in his debate with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney about tax breaks for owners of non-commercial airplanes.
In an exchange with Romney about U.S. tax policy, Obama said he would he end tax reductions for private jets as part of his plan to reduce the federal deficit.
“Why wouldn’t we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets,” Obama said. “My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.”
But Chicago-based Jet Support Services, Inc. said Thursday that Obama’s comments were an attack on an industry that creates 1.2 million jobs.
“President Obama clearly does not understand the full economic impact that the business aviation industry has on the broader U.S. economy,” JSSI Chairman Lou Seno said in a statement. “These tools of commerce are not toys for the rich; rather, they are vital assets that allow small and mid-sized businesses to sell both domestically and globally.”
The private jet industry has frequently criticized Obama for comments about the amount of taxes that are paid by the owners of non-commercial, or general, aviation aircrafts. The industry has also opposed a proposal from Obama to increase a per-flight fee on private jets as much as $100.
The proposal was originally one of Obama’s recommendations to the now-defunct supercommittee of lawmakers that was tasked with recommending $1.5 trillion or more in cuts from the federal deficit last year. It was included in the 2013 budget Obama proposed to Congress earlier this year.
Seno said Thursday that “business aviation is one of the few bright spots in both domestic manufacturing and our export economy, contributing to $150 billion in the industry’s overall economic impact.
“It’s an industry that supports 1.2 million American jobs, and President Obama’s decision to demonize it last night jeopardizes those jobs,” he said.
GOP nominee Romney focused his answer to the deficit question on a broader plan to reduce federal debt levels.
“I’m glad you raised that,” Romney said to moderator Jim Lehrer. “And it’s…a critical issue. I think it’s not just an economic issue. I think it’s a moral issue. I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation.
“They’re going to be paying the interest and the principle all their lives,” Romney continued. “And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.”
He did not make mention of the private jet industry.