Is FAA demand double taxation?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each year the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Oshkosh attracts more aircraft, pilots, and aviation enthusiasts than any other aviation gathering in the United States, but this year EAA is facing paying the FAA an estimated $500,000 for doing its job.

Payment is necessary, say FAA officials, because sequester has cut off necessary funds.

About 80 government personnel are used at Oshkosh each year, including 55 controllers, 10 supervisors, and 15 others with assorted duties.

“We’re not looking for a government handout,” says EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski, “just what the government has already budgeted for. General aviation pays its fair share of fuel taxes and this is like adding another tax.”

He cites as a comparison paying property taxes and then getting a $5 bill each time your child rides the school bus.

The FAA had already budgeted for the Oshkosh event, causing many to wonder why the call at this time for the fee for service. Perhaps it is a move to gain attention by taking the most popular events to get public opposition to sequester as well as the President’s call for a $100-per-flight fee for some flights for the “fat cats” who can use general aviation.

EAA is getting help from members of Congress. Both houses of Congress are opposing the FAA’s move. Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are examples.

Congress recently gave the FAA authority to transfer funds from various accounts in the budget. FAA used this authority to keep controllers on the job after earlier threats to have mandatory furloughs.

About 19,000 pilots responded to EAA’s call to contact their senators to urge them to co-sign a bipartisan letter to the FAA administrator urging a stop to charging for services at aviation events.

On June 6, a letter signed by 28 senators was sent to the FAA administrator saying the proposed service fee is tantamount to the imposition of a user fee on general aviation. It reminded the FAA that Congress had previously made clear its opposition to user fees. The senators point out to the FAA that about 10,000 aircraft come to the EAA event from all parts of the country and the gathering is a big boost to the economy.

An imposition of a new fee for government services sets a dangerous precedent for other aviation activities, but even more alarming is how such a move can be used for a myriad of government services beyond aviation. If government can add “service charges” for providing services of one kind to an individual or organization, similarly user fees can be charged by other agencies for other services and activities.

There is time for the FAA to alter its position on this fee. If it does not and EAA must shell out a half million dollars for controllers, the organization says it will not increase its prices during next month’s AirVenture.

Comments

  1. Where’s the moderator anyway? Just asking.

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Oh come on, Danny boy.
      You mean YOU didn’t think this was a stupid question, too?
      ****************************
      Tom Burke sleepily stammered:
      June 13, 2013 at 4:14 am
      I wonder of our “fat Cat” leader is going to pay the $100.00 fee he proposes when he and his fsamily and friends are transported in taxpayer paid form aircraft?
      ***********************************

      Or just won’t admit it fearing that would weaken your ludicrous insurrectionist, Faux News, Double Disneyworld Taxation “arguments”?

      Welcome to America. Diversity and colorful, free speech. Get used to them.
      And pay your dollar.
      Ass, grass, gas, cash…nobody flies for free.

  2. Tom Conte says:

    I also see it as paying double. This event must have been in the FAA budget, even with the cut it could have been covered. I would love to discover what government official thought of this and who deceided to give it a try. The EAA should have called their bluff and go on with the event. God forbid if an accident happened everyone then could turn to the FAA and ask why they weren’t doing their job they were tasked with. Then the people in government would have to explain themselves. Paying this is only encouraging it to happen again. It must never start or this extra billing will become the new normal. This is clearly shows that some politicans believe all of GA are “fat cats” and have extra money that can be collected.

  3. I am a member of EAA for over 40 yrs,I also own a aircraft.
    If it mine to decide(the 500,000 black mail) I would have cancelled 2013 EAA airventure.
    The faa forgot who is their boss-us.The last time they forgot they where fired.
    time to revisit history?

  4. Dave Carter says:

    Jack, I see this was “paid under protest”. Good…now let’s follow thru & get a reversal from this wrongful intentional act created by bad actors. Let’s fire these bad actors. I have not missed attending Oshkosh in over 40 years, but I am willing to not attend if this persists. I will not be “blackmailed. ….and I will not roll over either. To do so is to let the bad guys win.

  5. DJ Brumby says:

    Alright, that’s enough using an aviation issue to bring in personal politics regarding the First Family. Stick to the point, aviation enthusiasts. Arguing among ourselves is the best way to lose. Keep writing and calling your senators and don’t forget your representatives either. Keep the issue going until they back off. Make the FAA pay back their outrageous blackmail (what else does one call a fee imposed to allow an annual event to take place?) and do their already-funded job without taking more from GA. It’s not in the least impossible. We’re collectively a larger group than many with lobbyists in Washington very well known to the general public. For pete’s sake stop bickering and bellyaching and just step up and do it!

  6. “GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL”
    Not anyone could take this Bureau-U-Speak, but by charging us for “extra Service” (been a long,LONG time since Oshkosh started using the Controlled Airspace, and no other time of the year is this any different “job Description”, and paid every day by the FAA. Are they gonna close Chicago Control just because there are three times as many operations for the, say, 5 days?
    More important. The “government Employees” need a little reminder that they are not a “EMPLOYER, They are employees. “Employees” who take it upon themselves to make their own society.
    Only real solution? TERM LIMITS.
    Every two or four terms, make them come home and live in the idiocy in the way “THEY” don’t have to in their GOVERNMENT SOCIETY.

    Frankly, guys, I sure get my head bloodied by trying to interest those in Government Society when any mention of this effort to make them “One of US” again, if only for a vacation of term of one term “outside” of the limits.
    In this stupidity of the EMPLOYEES directing their being GOVERNED by the same rules that they imply, ——–”
    Ever heard of a bill being signed that doesn’t have the final miny’microcosm statement that, “”THESE LIMITS SHALL NOT APPLY TO US!”"——

    Frankly, I have never had anything but grand, wonderful contacts with the personnel actually supplying the “service”. It is only after there are two-three levels of Superiors that the problems begin—–

  7. Tom Lepper says:

    We as FAA controllers used to volunteer at Oshkosh. Where is the pay now ?

  8. John Colman says:

    EAA’s surrender on this fits right in with the old joke about agreeing to being tagged with a demeaning title for a million bucks, and if so, how about the same title for a $1.00! The EAA has sold us out on user fees. They should have been soliciting volunteers to man the tower.

  9. Marty Terry says:

    Does the NFL pay for extra security at the Super Bowl?
    Does the home team for the World Series pay for overtime for the Police force ??

    Bad plan letting this happen

  10. LEO BURGHOFFER says:

    I saw this morning on GMA that OBAMA! will spend 100,000,000 on his upcoming trip to Africa. This, of course benefits the country by……uhhhh… Well, I’m sure the talking heads in DC can come up with some benefits for us all. The EAA controllers are charging just 1/2 of one percent, but the FAA just can’t afford it. If OBAMA! could leave just one of the 50+ limos he’s taking over there they could probably fund it.

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Your math sucks, but that’s not all. What’s up with the all caps and exclamation point mocking Our President’s name? Treasonous teabagger? You proudly selfish (would rather have WalMart clerks in Dixie pay your special ATC costs — gallonage only covers incremental enroute expenses to and from, not unique ATC needs of the World’s Largest AV Party — than cough up another dollar each), insurrectionist, right wing drones spend so much time staring at Faux News, lapping up Limbaugh, and disinformed by TownHall you have lost all perspective, lost touch with reality, and even lost the usual veneer over your now transparent racism.

      Where was the outrage when former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also made trips to multiple African nations involving similarly laborious and expensive preparations … but even more now with Al Qaeda and fundamentalist religious threats there post 9/11?

      Bush (the unchallenged champion of White House vacations) went in 2003 and 2008, bringing his wife on both occasions. Bush’s two daughters went along on the first trip, which included a safari at a game preserve on the Botswana-South Africa border. The Obama’s just canceled the safari portion of their trip out of cost and security concerns. Just retract, apologize to Our President’s family, and then STFU, losers

  11. There isn’t 500,000 dollars for the worlds largest airshow, but there is an extra 60,000,000 dollars for the first family’s vacation to Africa even with the sequester.

    Only government could make logic out of this.

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Only YOU could say that without giggling. You proudly selfish (would rather have WalMart clerks in Dixie pay your special ATC costs — gallonage only covers incremental enroute expenses to and from, not unique ATC needs of the World’s Largest AV Party — than cough up another dollar each), insurrectionist, right wing drones spend so much time staring at Faux News, lapping up Limbaugh, and disinformed by TownHall you have lost all perspective, lost touch with reality, and even lost the usual veneer over your now transparent racism. Where was the outrage when former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also made trips to multiple African nations involving similarly laborious and expensive preparations … but even more now with Al Qaeda and fundamentalist religious threats there post 9/11? Bush (the unchallenged champion of White House vacations) went in 2003 and 2008, bringing his wife on both occasions. Bush’s two daughters went along on the first trip, which included a safari at a game preserve on the Botswana-South Africa border. The Obama’s just canceled the safari portion of their trip out of cost and security concerns. Just retract, apologize to Our President’s family, and then STFU, losers

  12. Larry Bruce says:

    So the EAA would be taxed by the FAA (half a million)…How will the EAA then have any say in the FAA’s performance of their aerial artistry at the Event? If EAA gets no input to the ATC process, then we’d be suffering “taxation without representation,”, eh? This whole thing sends a chill up my spine. And the lawyers would have a field day if anything went seriously wrong…wouldn’t the controllers be contractors to the EAA? And would they be held harmless in any lawsuit, or would they maintain a government umbrella of protection in the courts? Too many questions, too few answers. Not good.

  13. If they’ve already signed the agreement, so be it. But why not see if they could get FAA volunteers to handle the event. Put them up in 5 star hotels with free meals and wheels to and from…would be a hell of a lot cheaper than half a mil.

  14. C. David Buchanan says:

    GSA Per diem allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses for Oshkosh, Wi – $77.00/day

    • Wow, the cheapest hotel during Oshkosh week is a Days Inn in Appleton, WI at $150+tax per night. How are those poor government employees going to survive?

      • fantomnutt says:

        And during the sequester, we(“poor government employees”) are taking a 20% pay cut. I wonder how many people would not be able to attend Oshkosh with the same 20% paycut?

  15. C. David Buchanan says:

    Let’s negotiate – The Government requires General Aviation event organizers to accept certain expenses related to the ATC’s increased workload attributable to the event. In return General Aviation requires the Government to accept certain expense related to the financial encumbrance attributable to TFRs

  16. Fritz Katz says:

    It is the unpopular speech challenging the mob that needs the most protection.
    Something that his father understood but that escapes young Sclair and former AOPA PR flack Spence.
    Let’s try again, shall we?
    ========================
    “the President’s call for a $100-per-flight fee for some flights”

    Which flights would those be, Charlie?

    Just

    T U R B I N E

    and only in controlled airspace, right?

    And even then a long list of exceptions/exemptions, right?

    SO….

    Sorry, Charlie.

    Welcome to the Craig “Privatize ATC” Fuller Lying Sack Society — Dishonorable Mention Status.

    FAA charging EAA for special services during a budget crunch year (where in better years they wouldn’t) is NOT double taxation any more than a police department charging a fee to provide security at a commercially-sponsored, admission-charged Lollapalooza Concert is… or firemen charging organizers a fee to stand by far from home for emergencies while providing safety consultations at the commercially-sponsored, admission-charged
    “World’s Largest Fireworks Display Ever Held In A Dry Cornfield”
    would be.

    Time to retire if you either can’t grasp that or were locked into the Fuller/Boyer “anything goes if it saves our tightwad members money” M.O. during your “paid liar” PR years at AOPA (not MY descriptor… direct from the RNC phrase book and most recently directed toward White House spokesman Jay Carney) .

    Pay the extra dollar, people. If EAA can absorb it as part of the cost of doing Big Business, then this truly WAS a tempest in a teapot and much fabricated adoodoo about nothing.

    Gallonage taxes paid coming and going to OSH are NOT designed to cover a members-only, commercially-sponsored, admission-charged special events extravaganza at the end of the trip but only the routine incremental costs of enroute weather services, enroute flight following, enroute flight plans, and (in several “Destination OSH” cases EVERY year) a portion of emergency handling and search/crash coordination! That revenue was already spent flying from sea to shining sea… none left to pay for our big party at Wittman

    ========================

    • John Navratil says:

      Fritz Katz,

      You comparison to providing police services to Lolapalooza are not on point. In the event such a service is provided, people who have not paid the taxes for police coverage in the area are being provided service. The aircraft being handled have paid their taxes to those who provide the service. This is more like getting a handling charge from the officer giving you a speeding ticket for the extra work he did in pulling you over.

    • Yes, that is true. Only turbines, only in controlled airspace. But it is the foot in the door, that will inevitably lead to fees for everyone who flies, even if you’re a partner in a 172 on a shoestring budget. No one is trying to lead anyone astray here, with the possible exception of the current administration, which refers to a lower level of spending increases as “sequestration” requiring the shut down of only those facilities that make people very uncomfortable with a lower rate of borrowing and spending. And as the post below mentions, why in the world does this cost a half-million dollars? I’ll bring the retired controllers I know up there and run the thing for less than one tenth that cost and have fun doing it.

    • If are argument is sound, Fritz, then why are ALL taxpayers paying for Obama to fly Airforce One around the country for Democratic Party fundraiser events?

      To paraphrase you, this is “Gallonage taxes paid coming and going to political party fundraising designed to cover a members-only, one-party-only-sponsored, special events extravaganza “. And yet, its happening. Explain that!

  17. I want to know where they get the $500,000 figure from? The event lasts 6 days, even with two set up and two take down, travel days, for the 80 people for 10 days, that comes to about $625 per day. Is the FAA now making money on the event?

    • Joseph N Greulich says:

      Thanks for doing the math, I asked for an itemized cost list the other day, sounds like the FAA is no longer being supervised by honest individuals, and we thought by paying our taxes they would provide professional services. Is there any one out there on the up/an up …

    • The EAA press release dated June 13, 2013 says that the bill is “nearly $450,000.”

      Who is inflating the figures?

  18. Jerry Olson says:

    In reality this is triple taxation. The FAA was originally established and FUNDED by Congress to improve & provide air safety for ALL of aviation. Years later the Aviation Trust Fund was established and that was funded by our aviation fuel taxes. Its original purpose was to improve airports and runways. But, when the trust fund balance got so big it caught the eye of Congress & the FAA, they then decided to dip into it to “help” fund the FAA.

    So in reality robbing the Aviation Trust Fund is really double taxation. Our normal non-aviation taxes were intended to fully fund all federal agencies, including the FAA.

    Now why should the FAA get paid three times for the same work???????????

    • Because they can. That is all the justification they need.
      Remember what Reagan said about government.
      If it moves, tax it and if it doesn’t move, subsidise it.

  19. Just a reminder that the FAA is a government agency not unlike the DOJ, IRS or the NSA.

  20. Tom Burke says:

    I wonder of our “fat Cat” leader is going to pay the $100.00 fee he proposes when he and his fsamily and friends are transported in taxpayer paid form aircraft?

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Oh come on.

      You people couldn’t POSSIBLY be that stupid…

      On second thought…. yeah. Could. Are.

      PS

      What the hell is a “form” aircraft?

      You mean Wonder Woman’s ESP-summonable, AI, morphing crystal,
      Lansinarian, semi-transparent plane?

      If so, NO… not a turbine.
      Hippolyta willed the device to assume the form of a pre-WW2 recip prop-driven plane.

      • Randy Strock says:

        When people begin to lose discussions (arguments), they begin to call the others “stupid”. Personal attacks in place of logic have no place in this discussion and accordingly, those who post that form of discussion should simply be ignored.

        • Thank You. Be nice, someone forgot to take his pill this morning, and we are being forced to enjoy the benefit. Now just Ignore the gentleman.

        • Fritz Katz says:

          RANDY!!!

          How about when someone actually IS stupid? Pardon me… you’re right Mr PC… SAYS something totally stupid.

          What would YOU call Burke and Jay and others insulting Our President and the First Family (I’m no big fan but I respect and defend the Office) while claiming that the President’s team does not pay anything for using AF1 on pure campaign trips? They do exactly what all-time vacation and campaign champion Bush did on such purely personal and/or political trips. Ignoring that stupid enough for ya?

          Or are you so stupid…pardon me again — bigoted, teabagger, and uninformed — that you thought they were right?

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