The industry wasted no time in expressing its opposition to proposed user fees for GA in President Obama’s FY2015 budget.
GAMA president Pete Bunce (pictured) called the budget proposal a “disappointment” on a number of fronts. “As we continue to analyze the supporting documentation to the administration’s proposed FY 2015 budget, it appears that the fiscal resources for the FAA to certify new, safety-enhancing technologies will remain flat, which will dictate that the agency must make more effective use of certification streamlining and the delegation process,” Bunce said in a statement. “We are encouraged that the administration proposes making the R&D tax credit permanent, which will spur the development of new innovations and allow our industry to continue its economic recovery.
“However, we are extremely disappointed that the President’s budget threatens to throw down obstacles to recovery by seeking to impose a $100 per flight user fee. Fortunately, both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress don’t share the president’s thinking on this issue. Last year, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter to President Obama opposing the idea, and just last week, the bipartisan leaders of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the House GA Caucus asked President Obama not to include the proposal in this year’s budget. In addition, the administration’s decision to increase the depreciation period for general aviation aircraft is also very disheartening. We have always been open to being part of a larger look at depreciation for capital investments, but do not believe the general aviation industry should be singled out.
“As Congress now begins its consideration of the budget, we look forward to working with the administration and Congress on productive ideas to help create more highly paid, highly skilled manufacturing jobs and keep our economy growing,” Bunce said.
Opposition to the user fees was echoed by the Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA). “It is disappointing that once again, in spite of widespread, bipartisan opposition from businesses, farms, Mayors and communities around the nation, the Administration included a harmful user fee in the proposed budget for 2015,” the group said in a statement. “The existing fuel tax is simple, efficient and easy-to-use, whereas a user fee would decimate businesses and operators with unnecessary bureaucracy. Our leaders should be doing everything possible to support this vital industry and lifeline to communities around the nation.
“General aviation supports 1.2 million American jobs, represents $150 billion of economic activity each year, and is a vital asset to businesses of all sizes, farms and charitable groups across the country. Particularly in rural communities, general aviation supports commerce, agriculture, and critical services like safety, supporting disaster relief, fire fighting, law enforcement and others.
“We urge Congress to reject the user fees, as it has repeatedly done in the past.”