Letter to the Editor: Business Aviation
March 30, 2013
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  • Columnist Dennis Byrne’s “Would you give up your tax loophole?” (Commentary, March 5) rightly points out many of the hypocrisies and misconceptions associated with the recent discussion of “tax loopholes.”

    One particularly confounding example of recent loophole rhetoric refers to changing the depreciation schedule for the purchase of a business aircraft. Not only has this depreciation schedule been in place for 25 years and is consistent with other business investments, but further taxing these aircraft would be extremely harmful to the businesses, farms and charitable groups around the country that rely on these aircraft.

    These groups use these aircraft to reach far-off plants, deliver goods and increase productivity, so much so that labor and business groups and local officials from around the country have opposed these changes and called on the administration to recognize the importance of the business aviation industry.

    Taxing the operators and owners of these aircraft would also be hugely detrimental to the general aviation industry as a whole, which supports 1.2 million American jobs and delivers $150 billion in economic impact, and would cause a ripple effect through small towns and communities around the country.

    For many of these towns, business aircraft serve as a lifeline in terms of medical care, disaster relief, law enforcement and many other critically needed resources and services.

    Both parties in Washington need to get serious about addressing our nation’s long-term debt crisis.

    However, while vilifying an American industry that is responsible for millions of jobs may score quick political points, it will have many long-term negative consequences at a time when we need to do everything we can to help our nation’s businesses to recover.

    — Nicholas J. Helmer, mayor, Prospect Heights