By: Mark Patiky
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today applauded the 223 members of the U.S. House of Representatives – a majority of Congress – who recently delivered a resounding, bipartisan message to President Obama in opposition to his repeated calls for aviation user fees.
A staple of the administration’s past two budget proposals, a $100 per-flight fee on general aviation aircraft is considered likely to again be part of its fiscal year 2014 budget, to be unveiled later this week. In an April 5 letter to the president, House lawmakers termed imposition of aviation user fees “the wrong approach” for reducing the deficit, and called on the president to “abandon this idea once and for all.
“Commercial and general aviation, including aviation manufacturing, are vital industries in our nation, providing millions of jobs and making important contributions to our economy,” the letter states. “We should work together to support policies that encourage job growth and strengthen U.S. economic activities.” According to the NBAA, business aviation creates more than 1.2 million manufacturing and service jobs in the United States and it is part of a general aviation industry that contributes more than $150 billion to our economy each year and contributes positively to our nation’s balance of trade.
In response to the letter, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen stressed the importance of such strong congressional opposition to the administration’s desire for user fees, adding that support has proven vital to defeating past efforts by both Democratic and Republican administrations to impose similar levies.
“This isn’t the first time Congress has rejected user fees, or sent a letter in opposition to user fees to the president,” Bolen noted. “It is, however, the first time that a clear majority of members of Congress has signed onto the letter. Clearly, the opposition to user fees in Congress, which has always been exceedingly strong, is becoming overwhelming.”
The letter was circulated by House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-2-FL) and Ranking Subcommittee Member Rick Larsen (D-2-WA), along with House General Aviation (GA) Caucus Co-Chairs Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and John Barrow (D-12-GA.).
April 5, 2013
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We are writing to express our strong opposition to your continued support of a $100 per flight fee on commercial and general aviation.
Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them. Aviation user fees have been proposed by different Administrations, both Republican and Democrat and again, Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.
Commercial and general aviation, including aviation manufacturing, are vital industries in our nation, providing millions of jobs and making important contributions to our economy. We should work together to support policies that encourage job growth and strengthen U.S. economic activity. Imposing a $100 per flight fee on commercial and general aviation is the wrong approach, and we respectfully request that you abandon this idea once and for all.
We appreciate your consideration of our strong concerns.