General aviation user fees have been “repeatedly and overwhelmingly” rejected by the House of Representatives, and a joint select committee studying ways to reduce the federal deficit should also avoid damaging the $150 billion aviation industry, say members of the House GA Caucus.
Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.), along with House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) stated their position in a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The letter was signed by 63 members of the House GA Caucus.
The GA Caucus members addressed the Obama administration’s proposal to impose a $100-per-flight fee as part of its deficit reducing and unemployment fighting package.
“General aviation user fees have been proposed several times by different Administrations, both Republican and Democrat. The U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly and overwhelmingly opposed them,” the GA Caucus leaders wrote. “We support the current system of aviation excise taxes, which are a stable, efficient, and equitable source of funding. Per flight user fees have crippled the general aviation industry in other countries and we are concerned about the ramifications such fees would have in the U.S.”
“We greatly appreciate our friends in the GA Caucus for standing firm in their opposition to the misguided proposal of imposing harmful user fees on our industry,” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs. “ These 63 members of Congress represent large segments of our country, from urban areas in Illinois to rural communities in Minnesota, and their message is clear: No user fees.”
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, created under the Budget Control Act of 2011, must recommend measures for cutting the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Congress must then vote up or down on the recommendations by Dec. 23. If Congress is unable to enact a deficit reduction plan designed by the new panel, a sequestration would go into effect that could mean painful automatic, across-the-board spending cuts outlined under the new debt limit law.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) serve as co-chairs of the committee. A copy of the letter also was sent to the House Republican and Democratic leadership.