With Congress continuing to extend the FAA reauthorization rather than address a long-term measures, the airline industry has been held captive by the whims of hostile lawmakers. Now the debt limit negotiations have provided another moving front in the fight.
It has been suggested that the Joint Committee may consider targeted taxes on the airline industry in the form of new fees in order to reach their $1.5 trillion deficit reduction goal. While we have outlined before why we believe a tax-hike would be a non-starter for the Committee, suggestion of "user fees" as code for tax hikes has been used to fool even the most fiscally resolute before.
Moreover, general aviation has borne increased scrutiny from revenue-hungry lawmakers since many Members of Congress suffers from the delusion that businesses can afford new burdens where individuals can't. In reality, new burdens on general aviation would unfairly target small and mid-size businesses who depend on general aviation for commerce, goods, medical care and a variety of other resources. With 85 percent of enterprises that depend on general aviation consisting of small and mid-sized businesses, Increased "user" fees would completely stifle the transportation faculties of many local communities.
New fees would, of course, be entirely unacceptable in the context of the debt limit negotiations and beyond. Not only would new fees fail to force the government to confront its spending problem, it would also be a punitive new tax on an industry that has been beleaguered by the lagging economy. The recent jump in gas prices has also put pressure on aviation when the industry has already been further hampered by capricious and hostile attacks by big spenders. Government already consumes half of the price paid for a commercial domestic ticket – lawmakers who believe heavier taxes on travelers and airlines are simply looking for a quick fix for their overspending addiction. Taxpayers , who expect meaningful spending reform from the Joint Committee, will not stand for it.