GA Business Owners Blast White House User-Fee Plan

 - September 13, 2012, 4:30 PM

Grassroots representatives from NBAA, AOPA and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) have told U.S. lawmakers that user fees in any form would be “devastating” to the general aviation community. They were giving evidence at a hearing of the House Small Business Committee yesterday.

“The costs associated with user fees far outweigh any benefit to deficit reduction,” said NATA treasurer Marian Epps, whose family operates Epps Aviation in Atlanta.

Martha King, who with her husband John founded King Schools flight training, added, “It is difficult to imagine how…people in Washington could be contemplating an onerous, regressive and administratively burdensome new, per-flight tax euphemistically called a ‘user fee.’”

Orlando-headquartered Restaurant Equipment World depends on GA to conduct business, according to company president Brad Piece. “I consider my airplane to be one of my best employees,” he explained. The company flies a Turbo Cirrus SR-22 and has placed a deposit on a Cirrus Vision Jet.

The three GA witnesses were received sympathetically by most on the committee. Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.), a GA pilot who is co-chairman of the House GA Caucus, accused President Obama of “revenue mining” with the per-flight user fee on fixed-wing turbines. “There is no indication [the tax] is going to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund,” he revealed.