User Fees Back On Table

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As the cash-strapped U.S. government searches under the sofa cushions for extra cash, general aviation user fees are back on the radar. All the major aviation groups have signed a letter (PDF) to House Speaker John Boehner opposing the user fee idea as inefficient and potentially damaging to GA. The idea was floated at meetings concerning the debt ceiling debate and the alphabets say the concept has been thoroughly debated in the past and rejected and it hasn't gotten any better with age. "User fees have absolutely devastated general aviation in other parts of the world, and in the United States, they would only serve to create a new federal collection bureaucracy of billing agents, auditors and collection officials to harass small businesses and others," the letter reads.

Details of the proposed fees were sketchy but Helicopter Association International (HAI) says a $25 charge of some sort is involved. The groups all support the funding of aviation-related government services through the current system of fuel taxes, which they say provides a reliable and appropriate stream of funds to the government that is efficiently collected at the pumps.