Experiences in other nations raise concerns about proposed user fee


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress and the president have big taxation problems to resolve before the end of this year, so there will no doubt be a lot of discussion about aviation user fees. On Dec. 31, all the “Bush” tax cuts will expire, the debt limit will need to be increased, and payroll tax cuts will expire. On the next day, sequestration cuts are set to kick in.

But opposition to the proposed user fee continues, with many general aviation advocates pointing to experiences in other nations as cautionary tales of the effect of user fees. And while much of general aviation in the United States is exempt from the proposed user fees, GA advocates warn that an expansion of the fees to all flights is a possibility.

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Questions abound about proposed user fee


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing about President Obama’s proposal to charge a $100 per flight user fee for some flying. Committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) came out strongly against the proposal, as did many of the committee members.

Some people involved in general aviation believe that since the proposed fee applies only to turbine-powered aircraft, the proposal should not be a concern for most general aviation pilots. But many argue that is not the case.

Alphabet groups, including many general aviation organizations and airline groups, oppose the fee. Some of this opposition is based on knowledge of what other nations have experienced and are experiencing.

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Split docket: TSA legislation and user fees

HOOK Photo

As we move towards the national elections this November, it’s time to energize our general aviation community once again. There are two issues to examine and let our elected representatives in Washington know how we feel. One issue is the perfect storm: User fees. The second issue is an opportunity to have Congress send to the President’s desk the Air Travelers’ Bill of Rights.

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Strong opposition to user fees repeated

Publisher note: This story was updated (see content in parens in the opening paragraph) September 18, 2012.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama’s proposal to impose a $100 per-flight user fee (which as currently proposed on Page 31 here exempts, “All piston aircraft, military aircraft, public aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights.”) got a going over Wednesday, Sept.12, in the Small Business Committee of the House of Representatives with strong opposition to it, but with indications that some witnesses and members of the legislature would continue to press for the charge. Just one witness attempted to justify the charge by maintaining that a fee-for-use is the fairest method of raising revenue.

Primary support for the fee came from University Professor Kenneth J. Button, PhD, who insisted that the only fair means of allocating costs for any product or service is a direct fee. He said, “the current system is wrong and fees more attuned to costs would provide signals to users of the economic implications of their flights.” [Read more…]

An open letter to President Obama

I want to thank all who took the time to respond to my previous blog, “Couldn’t sign the user fee petition? Here’s help.” As promised, I sent your names and information to the White House as the attachment to the cover letter below. This response was sent both by email and the U.S. Postal Service.

We are still way below the needed 25,000 respondents on the petition. When I last checked the site we were up to less than 5,700. That’s more than when we started, but not even close to what we need. Remember, those who register their disapproval of aviation user fees do NOT have to be general aviators. They can be family members, friends, acquaintances, and so on. We have until May 16.

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Questions abound about user fees

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over the past few years, several reports have been written about suggestions, proposals, and announcements that new fees would be placed on aviation. Most recent of them refer to a fee of $100 per landing for jet aircraft introduced in the President’s budget for 2013.

Following published stories of these reports and rumors, a few people in general aviation have commented that the reporting has been incomplete because — they believed — it did not stress that the fee would apply only to jets, and therefore was not of concern to the average general aviation pilot. It is time to clarify the reporting and to show why those individuals and groups who see the whole aviation picture remain concerned.

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