Governors call on President Obama to protect general aviation

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and New Hampshire Governor John H. Lynch both recently sent letters to President Obama calling on the administration to recognize the vital importance of general aviation for the economy and communities around the nation. The release of the letters comes following recent reports that the administration is likely pursuing a “user fee” tax on these aircraft, which would be extremely harmful to businesses, organizations and individuals across the country that rely on general aviation, as well as the general aviation manufacturing industry as a whole.

Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire specifically stated in his letter to the President: “General aviation has been hit hard by the economic downturn. General aviation aircraft and the airports they use represent a critical link to emergency services, economic opportunity and global markets. It is important that this infrastructure remain in place and that we maintain it at a level that allows it to operate safely and efficiently.” The industry represents 1.2 million jobs and approximately $150 billion in economic impact.

The industry has recently seen thousands of lay-offs as a result of the economic downturn and an increasingly negative environment toward general aviation. In fact, 85% of the companies that rely on general aviation are small- to mid-sized businesses that use these aircraft to reach plants, markets and customers in other regions of the state or country. These businesses would be decimated by a proposed user fee, which would result in an increased tax and huge administrative burden on businesses, farms and organizations that are already struggling as a result of the economic downturn. General aviation operators currently pay into the air transportation system through a fuel tax, which is simple, efficient and easy-to-use.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin specifically highlighted the need to protect this industry against burdensome taxes which may further harm the industry and impact the economy: “Putting our nation’s financial house in order must remain the top priority in Washington at this time. However, doing so through new tax burdens on a critical sector of our economy will do more economic harm than good and put thousands of jobs at risk. For this reason, I oppose the imposition of new “user fee” taxes on general aviation aircraft operators in any form.”

The bi-partisan pair of governors join a growing list of state and local officials that have highlighted the need to protect general aviation. In September, more than 70 mayors from 44 states sent a letter to President Obama, denouncing recent attacks on general aviation, and calling on the President to highlight the importance of the industry for communities around the country. In addition, 36 states around the country have passed proclamations recognizing the importance of general aviation to the economy and local communities.


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  1. pilotman says

    loo, your comments are right on track.

    gbin, you previously stated that you fly a piston single. There is certainly nothing wrong with that.  So do I. if you are against the fee, just say so. For your information the proposed fee is not just for jet aircraft as you frequently say.  It is proposed for all TURBINE aircraft. In case you don’t know, King Airs, cheyennes, conquests,and many other turboprops have propellers, and would be subject to the fee. How long do you think it would take the big tax-and-spenders to figure out that all planes who use the system cost the government money by using the controller’s time?   Somebody might even be smart enough to figure out that turbines are already paying a lot more into the system than pistons because turbines burn a lot more fuel and pay a lot more tax. BTW, I have never “pretended” to say, or said, that the fee would be applicable to all aircraft.

    The user fee proposal is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, most of which have been elaborated by AOPA. If you insist otherwise, you certainly have a right to do so. You still haven”t answered my question. If you think a user fee should be enacted, why is it fair to only stick a small percentage of the users instead of all who use the system? Please don’t tell me that turbines take more of the controller’s time. They fly faster than pistons,and therefore take up less of the controller’s time.

    The user fee proposal will die in Congress. there are enough people in both chambers , on both sides of the aisle, who have enough brains to know that the fee would harm aviation and a lot of the 1.2 million people who work in aviation-related jobs.    

    • gbin says

      “gbin, you previously stated that you fly a piston single.”

      No, pilotman, I did not.  In this as in other things you’ve written about me here and elsewhere, you are either accidentally or deliberating misrepresenting what I’ve said, despite my repeated corrections of it.  Why?  If you’d done it only once I might write it off as a simple mistake, maybe you thinking I’m someone else you were engaged in conversation with at the same time, but you’ve done it again and again regardless of anything I might say.  So “accidentally” has become harder and harder to believe.  Whatever the game, I’m not interested in playing.  I suggest you try a more honest approach to these kinds of discussions, no matter how much you get wound up by whatever particular issue.

      And I have indeed answered your question, though not by indulging your misstatement that I am a supporter of the proposed user fee.  As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, I’ve never said that this user fee should be enacted; I’m still considering the matter.  Just because you apparently leap to whatever opinions your politics dictate to you doesn’t mean the rest of us all do likewise.  As the old saying goes, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  Again, I suggest you try looking at issues individually and using reason to reach your conclusions about them rather than just making snap decisions based on mindless political partisanship.

      You’re at least right about one thing:  The proposed user fee is indeed technically for turbine aircraft (though not ALL turbine aircraft, as you claimed – there are other stated exemptions besides piston aircraft).  My apologies for simply writing jet aircraft instead, if that bothered you.  It’s still only a small minority of aircraft we’re talking about, just as I said, and nowhere near all of general aviation, as has repeatedly been put forth here.  And as pleased and proud as I am to be a member of the AOPA for other reasons, it’s leadership is most definitely among those spreading misinformation on this issue in an effort to scare up support, so people can’t be sent to them for an honest appraisal of the situation.

  2. pilotman says

    Hey, gbin, if you like this user fee so much, and you fly a piston plane, as do I, why don’t you start a petition to include all planes in the proposal.  That way the fee would be lower ,and everyone would pay their “fair share”. BTW, if the fee is enacted it will only be a matter of time before pistons will be included.

    This user fee is not needed and will be defeated  

    • gbin says

      pilotman, are you now on a mission to misrepresent me here, because I dared criticize you before for pretending that the proposed user fee pertained to all of general aviation rather than just to jet aircraft?  As I’ve clearly stated to you elsewhere, I haven’t yet made up my mind on whether I support or oppose the proposed user fee; I prefer to think things over and make reasoned decisions rather than just act like a knee-jerk.  (For that matter, you don’t even know what I fly.)

      And as I’ve already explained to you, what’s motivated my posts below and elsewhere is what looks to be a campaign (which you seem to be participating in) to mislead folks into thinking the proposed user fee would apply to everyone in general aviation, when it would actually apply only to a small minority.  (Yes, I know that you and a few others here like to indulge in politically driven doomsday hypotheticals “Today jet aircraft, tomorrow the world!…” – but I prefer to live in the real world, and to spend my time on real rather than imagined issues.)  As I said to you before, you can’t have fairness without honesty.  Try it sometime.

      • Loo says

        After a while people would wonder why piston aircraft are not included. If only some people do not pay then they are not paying their “fair share” and that has to be fixed.
        I also do not see any fairness in $100 fee without regards to the duration of flight, airports and airspace requirements. Even the number of $100 does not make any sense. Why $100? Why not $77 or $66 or $1776? Somebody just made that number up while sitting in the loo. It is purely political game that would have pretty bad consequences. Big guys would not even notice this but all smaller ones would suffer.

  3. gbin says

    Here’s yet another article addressing the Obama administration’s proposed general aviation user fee that fails to mention they’ve clearly stated that PISTON AIRCRAFT WOULD BE EXEMPT.  That’s right, the proposed user fee would apply only to jet aircraft.

    Not so small a detail to omit, eh?  Why do you suppose this rather important piece of information keeps getting left out of these reports?…

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