House Committee Probes Negative Impact of User Fees
September 13, 2012 - The U.S House Committee on Small Business, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves, a longtime pilot and EAA member, heard from a number of aviation business owners Wednesday on the potential devastating impact of user fees on general aviation.
Testimony at the hearing, titled "User Fees in the Aviation Industry: Turbulence Ahead," covered a variety of financial and regulatory effects of the user fees proposed by President Obama. The $100-per-flight fee on operators would be in addition to federal fuel taxes currently paid by GA operators.
"New fees and taxes always put up a caution flag in a difficult economy," Rep. Graves said. "The Committee shares the concerns of many aviation small businesses. They fly on tight budgets and pay taxes on fuel. A new fee, in addition to rising fuel costs, is asking too much."
EAA has long maintained that GA already pays more than its share of the aviation and national airspace infrastructure through fuel taxes as compared to the services it uses. Congress has also defeated user fee proposals for more than a decade, most recently in the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed earlier this year.
"It is difficult to image how, at a time when a critical American industry is struggling the way general aviation is, people in Washington could be contemplating an onerous, regressive, and administratively burdensome new per-flight tax euphemistically called a 'user fee,'" said Martha King, co-owner and co-chairman of King Schools of San Diego, California.
EAA's advocacy staff will continue to oppose the administration's proposed per-flight user fee and will remain vigilant for new proposals, as they will undoubtedly be raised again. EAA will also advise members when to contact their lawmakers to oppose GA user fees, as member comments to Congress have previously helped shape the issue's outcome.