February 26, 2009
By Warren D. Morningstar
President Barack Obama’s proposed budget is calling for aviation user charges starting in 2011. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the proposal Feb. 26, and although there is not much detail, the document makes it clear that the administration wants to replace some of the aviation excise taxes with “direct user charges.”
“It is often said the devil is in the details, but even with only a few details, we are concerned,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “We have been working constructively with the Obama administration and Congress about moving forward with air traffic control modernization and airport development. However, the warning light went on with the budget briefing documents and the plan for imposing billions in user fees on the aviation community.”
The budget “proposes repealing some aviation excise taxes and replacing these taxes with direct user charges.” ( See page 129 of the budget proposal.)
“Direct user charges are just another name for user fees,” noted Fuller.
User charges would total some $7 billion in 2011, or about half of the FAA’s total budget.
“We don’t know what kind of user charges the Obama administration would propose to implement, but the previous administration wanted to raise about $7 billion through air traffic control system user fees,” Fuller said.
The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), who has been a staunch opponent of user fees, released a statement saying, “I note that the budget appears to propose some type of aviation user fee. Aviation user fees have been proposed several times in the past by OMBs of various administrations, and have not been adopted by Congress.”
Earlier this month Fuller testified in support of Chairman Oberstar’s bill, H.R.915, to finance the FAA through the current system of aviation excise taxes.
“We have already contacted White House officials to express our concern and to reiterate the negative effects that user fees would have on the general aviation industry. We look forward to an open dialogue with the president on the best way to finance the modernization of our air traffic control system and the FAA’s continued operations.”
AOPA is offering special aircraft financing for flying clubs as a way to help new flying clubs acquire quality aircraft while aiding existing clubs that want to expand their fleets.
An annual celebration of aviation in Imperial County, California, drew a large number of local residents to the Imperial County Airport.
An AOPA-backed bill would create a partial abatement of property or sales and use taxes for Nevada businesses that repair aircraft or components.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>