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Funding (2)

AOPA keeps user fee issue front and center with Congress

Baucus Sen. Baucus

Wyden Sen. Wyden

Smith Sen. Smith

Conrad Sen. Conrad

It may be vacation time for Congress, but AOPA is making sure the user fee issue remains in front of key lawmakers. AOPA President Phil Boyer is meeting with newspaper editorial boards and doing media interviews in Oregon, Montana and North Dakota this week.

That’s important because Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is from Montana, and Oregon’s two senators, Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, and Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, also serve on that committee. One of the best ways to make sure they keep thinking about FAA funding is through the media in their home states and their constituents.

When senators return to Washington, D.C., after Labor Day, an item on the Finance Committee’s agenda will be deciding if they will go along with the recommendations of the Commerce Committee to give the airlines a tax break and add a $25 per flight user fee for turbine aircraft. The airlines are lobbying the Finance Committee to change the tax formulas to their favor in S.1300, the FAA funding bill in the Senate.

“We want to convince the newspaper editorial boards to endorse H.R.2881, the House FAA funding bill that ensures the future of general aviation, pays for air traffic control modernization, using the existing taxes on airlines and their passengers and adjusting the fuel taxes for inflation,” said Boyer. “The opinions of a politician’s home town media are very influential.”

On Thursday, Boyer met with the editorial board of the Register-Guard, the main daily newspaper serving west-central Oregon. Boyer can be heard this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. EDT on “Weekend Edition Live with Jeff Kropf." It's on KXL 750 a.m., Portland’s leading talk radio station. Kropf is an AOPA member and Navion owner.

Boyer then flew to Helena for a meeting with the Helena Independent Record editorial board in Montana’s capital city. And he has interviews scheduled in Great Falls, Mont., on Friday.

August 23, 2007

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