Federal Budget Plan Includes Aviation User Fees

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The Obama administration's 2013 budget proposal, released on Monday, includes a fee of $100 per flight for some general aviation aircraft, which drew a quick response from GA advocacy groups. AOPA, the National Business Aviation Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and EAA all protested the plan. The proposal exempts all piston aircraft, military and public aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside controlled airspace, and flights that begin and end in Canada. Nonetheless, "AOPA finds little solace [in the piston exemption]," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "In nations where user fees have been introduced, the fees have grown." However, in the bigger election-year picture, the proposal may not get far, anyway.

According to Reuters, the budget proposal is "expected to go nowhere in a divided Congress and is widely seen as more of a campaign document that frames his economic pitch to voters and seeks to shift the focus from deficits to economic growth." Reuters said the plan reflects the campaign effort to promote "economic fairness" and spread more of the tax burden to wealthier Americans. NBAA and other groups said they would lobby representatives in Congress to derail the plan. "Over the past several years, the general aviation community has worked with Congress to successfully beat back a number of bad ideas proposed by the White House," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. "We can do it again by getting everyone active and engaged with their elected officials."