Two of the 77 mayors who signed a letter to President Obama urging abandonment of his proposal for a $100 fee on every general aviation flight held a telephone news conference to further call attention to the devistating results the fee would cause communities across the nation. They say the idea of raising taxes on a vital industry and its activity during high unemployment and a sagging economy is counter-productive.
The mayors — Carl Brewer, Wichita, Kansas, and Jim Councill, Franklin, West Virginia — told how the airports and GA in their areas bring jobs and economic growth to their communities.
Mayor Brewer pointed out that general aviation accounts for 47,000 jobs in Kansas alone, putting more than $1 billion a year in wages into the economy. This represents 8.5% of the state’s economy. Nationwide, he said, general aviation is responsible for 1.2 million jobs.
Franklin’s general aviation airport is vital to the local economy, Councill declared. He said a local paper mill company was able to stay open because of service the local airport made available. Between 30 and 40 companies regularly fly into the airport to meet with and serve local businesses.
Speaking of how the airport and general aviation keeps business going, he cited a case when the airport made it possible for a local company to avoid a long shutdown. The local airport permitted general aviation to bring needed parts into the town in a matter of hours. Without this, he said, days would have been required. The company shut down lasted only hours instead of days. He suggested that the value of the local airport to his community should be thought of as one example of what the thousands of GA airports around the nation contribute to the nation.
The mayors said the President’s continuing reference to general aviation as a perk for the CEOs of corporations is totally in error. Many of the flights are in smaller GA aircraft.
The news conference with two mayors was arranged by the Alliance for Aviation Across America as part of efforts to halt the devastating tax of $100 for each flight. Several members of Congress have weighed in on the battle against President Obama and the efforts to get him to stop calling general aviation something for the fat cats.