As Congress searches for new sources of revenue, the general aviation industry could take a hard hit if a controversial new fee is imposed for flights, California TV station KION reported on June 8. Opponents of the proposed fee say the industries that would feel the impact would include agriculture, emergency medical evacuation, law enforcement, forest-fire fighting, package delivery and the Civil Air Patrol, the station stated.
“If it passes, it will change every thing in the general aviation industry… from top to bottom, front to back,” said Joe Shelton, a pilot with Angel Flight West. “Not only is it economically more difficult… it also has an effect on safety,” said Shelton, who has been flying for 30 years.
Opponents say tens of millions of Americans depend on General Aviation as an economic lifeline but, according to the General Aviation Serves America group, the “scheme of new taxes and new restrictions” being considered in Washington would place that lifeline in jeopardy.
In April, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association launched General Aviation Serves America. The goal is to educate policy makers and the public about the vital role that general aviation plays in the nation’s economy. GA pumps more than $150 billion a year into our economy, the group states.
Shelton told KION that the idea of user fees for GA has been in the works for years, but became re-energized when President Barack H. Obama came into office. “He’s trying to cut costs and trying to save the Government money but, at the same time, he’s hurting an industry that’s important to the population of this country,” said Shelton, who added that he tends to support Obama. “It’s simply about the economy.”
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