Industry Coalition Forms To Fight Taxes

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A coalition of nearly 30 industry groups (including AEA, ALPA, AOPA and NATCA) has organized to fight aviation tax increases while supporting aviation spending programs. The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) issued a statement Friday that urged Congress to "reject the proposed taxes" it says are part of a White House and Congressional Super Committee proposed debt-reduction plan. The same statement also said AEA "applauds the administration" for funding NextGen modernization efforts to the tune of $1 billion. According to AEA, the plan would impose two new taxes that would pay for general deficit reduction (unrelated to aviation). One described by AEA as a "user fee scheme" would apply a $100 per flight fee for "all flights" (excluding piston aircraft and other specific operations, according to AEA). A second fee would be collected in the form of a $5-per-trip passenger security tax.

The coalition says the $100 per flight fee would "stifle" the general aviation industry in the U.S. -- an industry that supports 1.3 million jobs and "$150 billion in economic activity every year," according to the coalition. The group says it has earned the support of "nearly 120" members of Congress who oppose the new taxes. That group has already told Congressional leadership that a new $100 departure tax would "cost airlines an estimated $1 billion a year." (The number matches the amount of NextGen funding proposed as part of the government's plan.) It's not entirely clear if the $1 billion figure is meant to describe the amount collected in fees alone, or if it includes some estimated monetary amount attributed to the "devastating impact on the aviation industry" opposing Congressmen say the fee would cause. The proposed passenger security tax would be an increase of an existing tax, doubling it to $5 per one-way trip in 2012 and then tripling it to $7.50 by 2017.

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