Crucial Vote On FAA Funding Today
As the National Business Aviation Association prepares for its annual convention a week from now in Atlanta, it’s also preoccupied with a congressional process that has major implications for the aviation sector it represents. At 10 a.m. EDT today, the House Ways and Means Committee will vote on its version of the funding bill and NBAA is rallying its troops to contact representatives who are committee members to try to make sure the vote results in retention of the current system of GA funding for the FAA through a fuel tax, something the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has already endorsed. Other organizations seem to think it’s a slam dunk but NBAA is taking no chances. “This is a critical time in our fight, so please take a few minutes to call your Representative now!” NBAA President Ed Bolen says in an e-mail full of exclamation marks. In fact NBAA has gone to the lengths of setting up a toll-free phone patch system that will allow constituents of key members of the committee to connect directly to their offices. The Ways and Means Committee is the taxation arm of the House, so its decision carries enormous clout when the final vote is held. Bolen has some tips for those who make the call and suggests something along these lines. “As the House Ways and Means Committee works to craft their own proposal for FAA reauthorization, we urge you to follow the common-sense approach of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which protects small businesses and communities that rely on general aviation by retaining our simple, easy-to-use fuel tax system,” Bolen coached. “I reject any radical and unnecessary new taxes or fees on general aviation that would harm small businesses and towns, while giving the commercial airlines a huge tax break.” The Senate bill currently going through the mill would invoke a $25-per-leg user fee on turbine aircraft flying IFR and Bolen and other GA leaders fear it would be the tiny tip of a very large iceberg.