The Committee on Small Business, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today held a hearing titled, User Fees in the Aviation Industry: Turbulence Ahead, examining small business concerns about a proposed new fee on general aviation.
The Committee heard testimony on the financial and regulatory impact that a new user fee would make on the aviation industry. President Obama proposed a $100 per flight fee on operators. The general aviation community is predominately made up of small businesses, employs about 1.2 million people, and contributes approximately $150 billion to the overall GDP.
“New fees and taxes always put up a caution flag in a difficult economy,” said Chairman Graves. “The Committee shares the concerns of many aviation small businesses. They fly on tight budgets and pay taxes on fuel. A new fee, in addition to rising fuel costs, is asking too much.”
“General aviation carries 166 million passengers to around 5,000 communities over 27 million flight hours each year,” Graves continued. “More than two-thirds of these flights are for business purposes. General aviation’s operations and manufacturing provides jobs for about 1.2 million people while putting $150 billion in our economy. This proposed fee would harm an industry that is already feeling the effects of a sluggish economy.”
Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.
Notable Witness Quotes:
Marian Epps, CFO, Epps Aviation, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, GA, on behalf of the National Air Transportation Association, said, “This departure fee would decimate small businesses and organizations around the country that depend on general aviation. In a time when general aviation businesses are looking to spur economic and job growth, the imposition of a user fee would also be detrimental to the many states with little or no commercial airline service where general aviation plays an integral economic role.”
Martha King, Co-Owner and Co-Chairman, King Schools, Inc., San Diego, CA, on behalf of the National Business Aviation Association, said, “It is difficult to imagine how, at a time when a critical American industry is struggling the way general aviation is, people in Washington could be contemplating an onerous, regressive and administratively burdensome new per-flight tax euphemistically called a ‘user fee.’ A $100 per-flight tax on all turbine powered aircraft would be devastating for thousands of small businesses like mine. I hope this important committee will put an end to this nonsensical proposal once and for all.”
Brad Pierce, President, Restaurant Equipment World, Orlando, FL, on behalf of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said, “Without question, a $100 per flight user fee would be catastrophic to general aviation, will not create jobs, will depress economic prosperity for the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on general aviation to move their goods and is nothing more than an additional regulatory burden and harassment to our nation’s small businesses and communities that rely on general aviation as a means of livelihood.”