By: Bridget Johnson
A New York Democrat is laying the blame for long flight delays and furloughed air traffic controllers at the feet of corporate jets.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand today announced legislation to close a tax loophole for corporate jets and use that funding to reinstate air traffic controllers nationwide, claiming the levy on corporate jets would solve the problem of long waits for flights.
“Instead of protecting tax breaks for wealthy corporate jet owners who don’t need them, we should be keeping commercial air travel fully operational for middle class families and small businesses,” Gillibrand said. “These wasteful tax breaks are blowing a hole in our budget, adding to uncertainty and slowing economic growth. Closing this loophole is just common sense, and will save us billions of dollars that we can invest right now to keep control towers up and running, keep flights on time, and keep our economy on the move.”
Flights at New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports on Monday were delayed up to two hours or longer as a result of furloughs, causing cranky passengers and furious lawmakers.
The FAA has had $232 million cut from the FAA operations budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which funds air traffic control. This set into motion furloughs of one day each pay period for the agency’s workforce, including 15,000 air traffic controllers.
The furloughs went into effect Monday, and the FAA said more than 1,200 flights were delayed.
Gillibrand said her bill would raise $2.702 billion over the next 10 years to pay for air traffic controllers and more by making the recovery period for airplanes not used in commercial or contract carrying of passengers or freight seven years instead of the current five years.
President Obama spent much of his first term decrying corporate jets as an example of the corporations enjoying tax breaks.