By: RICK ADAMCZAK
Fifteen Ohio mayors have signed a petition sent to President Barack Obama last week asking the president to rescind his proposed $100-per-flight tax on general aviation business flights.
The Ohio mayors were among 115 across the nation who signed the petition, submitted by the Alliance for Aviation Across America.
“We write to express our deep concern that your comments about general aviation in recent weeks and months have not only mischaracterized these aircraft and their crucial importance for our economy, but have suggested that the businesses and communities that depend on this form of transportation can afford an increased tax burden for general aviation operators,” the petition notes.
The Alliance for Aviation Across America says general aviation supports 1.2 million American jobs and has an annual economic impact of more than $150 billion.
In Ohio, general aviation contributes more than $5.5 billion to the economy every year and supports 17,000 jobs, according to the group.
It also notes, however, that the industry has been struggling in recent years and that there has been a 15.5 percent drop in general aviation aircraft shipments and billings have dropped 22.3 percent.
“Since 2008, manufacturers have also laid off roughly 20,000 workers, which is additionally concerning given that the general aviation industry remains one of the only sectors in U.S. manufacturing that still contributes positively to the balance of trade.
“… we are extremely concerned about the repercussions of your statements on this important lifeline to communities around the nation,” the petition organizers stated.
Central Ohio mayors who signed the petition include Gary Milner of Delaware, Dave Smith of Lancaster, Richard Mavis of Mount Vernon and Jack Everson of Chillicothe.
The other Ohio mayors who signed the petition are Rodney Metz (Wapakoneta), Jeffrey Hazel (Celina), Tom Orr (Cambridge), Eric Fulcomer (Bluffton), Scott Schertzer (Marion), Alan Andreani (Alliance), Ron D’Epifanio (Fairfield), Charles Sammarone (Youngstown), Michael O’Brien (Warren), James Swoger (East Liverpool) and Louie Ehmer (Van Wert).
Last month Gov. John Kasich declared December “General Aviation Appreciation Month” in Ohio, a move lauded by those in the aviation industry.
“This proclamation will help to educate the public about the critical role of general aviation and community airports to the state of Ohio, which provide invaluable support to law enforcement, medical providers, fire fighting, local businesses and residents throughout the state,” said Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.
The group says 85 percent of businesses that own or use general aviation are small to mid-sized businesses and organizations “that rely on these aircraft to reach far-off plants and customers, serve rural markets without access to commercial aviation, or deliver medical care and other services.”
The petition claims that not only would new taxes be an additional financial burden, they would create “a huge administrative burden on businesses, farms and organizations that use GA aircraft.”