Aviation was spared user fees and changes to the bonus depreciation measures currently in effect but both issues could be back as early as this coming fall. In the lead-up to the dramatic debt ceiling debate there was considerable saber rattling from the Democrats suggesting general aviation was being targeted for increased revenue. Among the ideas floated was a $25 "departure fee" and there was also a push to reduce or eliminate bonus depreciation. Aviation organizations launched a furious lobbying and publicity campaign on both fronts but it's likely premature to claim victory.
Both the National Business Aviation Association and the Aircraft Electronics Association noted that a provision of the debt ceiling deal is a requirement for Congress to look for another $1.5 trillion in either increased revenue or spending cuts and aviation may remain a favorite target. "We definitely have not heard the last of a user fee scheme or the prospect of eliminating the popular tax depreciation plan for buyers of new aircraft and avionics," AEA President Paula Derks said. "This means the entire general aviation community needs to be on a constant vigil and ready to react to those proposed fees and/or new taxes. Again, our community will need to rally together and continue to educate our elected officials on the importance of this industry to our nation's economy."