By AOPA ePublishing staff
During the Senate’s consideration of the FAA funding bill earlier this month, Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) came to the floor to speak out against user fees and praise the compromise bill crafted by the Senate Finance and Commerce committees.
“There was a lot of disagreement as to whether we should create a new fee system, whether we should create a new bureaucracy for assessing fees on general aviation. I am pleased to see that we did not go that route,” stated Sen. Sununu.
Sen. Sununu had cosponsored an amendment to strike the proposed $25-per-flight user fee originally contained in the Commerce Committee bill (S.1300). An outspoken opponent of wasteful government spending, the senator remained unconvinced that a new bureaucracy could collect user fees more efficiently than the existing excise taxes. Sen. Sununu worked vigorously to help broker a compromise that raises the revenue to fund air traffic control modernization without the creation of unnecessary user fees.
“We have a system for collecting aviation taxes in place, taxes on aviation fuel and jet fuel. There was a recognition on all sides that that tax burden needed to be increased to keep pace with the needs of the aviation system. It is an efficient system. It is one that works. It is one that is well understood. I think it would have been a mistake to try to create a new bureaucracy when we have such a system in place,” Sununu explained to his colleagues.
The Senate on May 6 failed to garner enough votes to limit debate on the FAA funding bill when some lawmakers objected to nonaviation issues that had been added to the legislation. Those objections prevented a final vote on the FAA funding bill. The FAA is currently operating under a temporary funding measure that expires on June 30.
May 15, 2008