President's Budget Proposes User Fees For Some

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A section of President Obama's proposed 2014 budget aims to "reduce the deficit and more equitably share the cost of air traffic services" through a "$100 per flight fee" payable to the FAA, with exceptions. The fee would not apply to piston, military, public, or air ambulance aircraft as detailed on page 43 of the budget. It would also exempt Canada-to-Canada flights and those operating outside of controlled airspace. The user fee is one of two proposed measures that would directly affect general aviation. Aviation interest groups, from AOPA to GAMA to NATA, responded quickly, and negatively, to both proposals.

Also included on page 20 of the White House budget proposal is a proposal to "eliminate special depreciation rules for corporate purchases of aircraft," shifting the period from five years to seven years. The White House says the change would make consistent the treatment of commercial and corporate passenger-carrying aircraft and "save $3 billion over 10 years." The White House believes the proposed user fee "would generate an estimated $7.3 billion over 10 years."

According to Craig Fuller, the fee proposal is "designed specifically to open the door for new, higher fees in the future." GAMA released a statement saying, "The budget continues to promote policies that hurt general aviation and fail to lay the foundation for growth" in the sector. According to NATA president and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks, "This would be another hit on general aviation that simply doesn't do much in terms of deficit reduction but would certainly have a negative impact on aircraft the manufacturing sector."

Find the budget proposal document here (large PDF).