If automatic federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” take effect in January, the Obama Administration and the FAA could ramp up efforts to impose aviation user fees to plug the gap, NBAA fears. Under sequestration, the FAA budget could be cut by $1 billion annually, according to an Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) study released on Monday.
General aviation user fees might not make it into any of the various tax proposals currently floating around Washington, but the concept is harder to kill than a zombie. It’s enough to make anyone want to reach for the antacids.
Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued a statement on Friday urging President Obama not to include general aviation user fees in the upcoming budget. "We want to reiterate that a user-fee proposal would be a step backward," Costello wrote. "This is an issue that we have had bipartisan agreement on in recent years and there is no reason to reconsider it.
NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) were pleased to learn that the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 federal budget proposal–released yesterday–does not include new user fees for general aviation. The previous proposal, issued a year ago, contained a provision that would “replace some aviation excise taxes with direct user charges” in 2011.
The temporary reduction in navigation and ATC user charges in Canada came to an end on December 31 in one of several steps Nav Canada is taking to stem a potential revenue shortfall resulting from reduced flight operations since September 11.
User fees remain a fiery issue, despite a congressional recess the past two weeks during which no official business has been conducted on the proposal.
Airservices Australia wants to impose licensing fees to provide data for aeronautical information publications, including Jeppesen charts. If levied, the Englewood, Colo.-based company said the additional charges would be passed along to customers. Jeppesen opposes the fees, viewing them as “multiple taxation” because they would be in addition to Australia’s existing ATC and navigation user fees.
In a speech today at the Wings Club in New York City, Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton unveiled a central strategy for business aviation’s counteroffensive against user fees. He outlined what he described as five myths and realities about FAA reauthorization and funding.
At the AOPA Convention in Palm Springs, Calif., last month, the specter of user fees cast its long shadow over operators and potential operators of the new small jets. At the opening general session a lineup of aviation heavyweights voiced their views on user fees. Tom Poberezny, president of EAA, summed it up best when he said, “They [the airlines] want to control more and pay less.”
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen joined several aviation leaders on Tuesday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., to show a united front against aviation user fees.
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