Today, Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Fiscal Accountability issued a letter urging Senators to vote against the FAA Reauthorization Bill. While the bill has been stalled by many troubling provisions in the past that are not currently included, FAA funding from the Airway and Airport Trust Fund has routinely been expanded to increase the scope and breadth of transportation spending – the bill being considered today authorizes $35 billion in spending over the next two years. From our letter:
While proponents of the bill claim its passage will ensure job growth, taxpayers have witnessed the impact of so-called government job creation; almost two years after the passage of the “stimulus” bill unemployment has held steadily above 9 percent and the economy has shed 3 million jobs.
What’s more, the FAA Reauthorization bill requires a fifth of its spending measures to be covered by local governments, putting municipalities on the hook for new spending at a time when governments need to be looking to increase prudence, not their bottom lines.
This misleading narrative on transportation jobs belies the reality of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which Congress has used as an excuse to expand the scope of transportation spending for years. As such, previous iterations of the FAA Reauthorization bill were used as vehicles for new tax hikes on an industry that already suffers a disproportionately high tax burden. Currently, the airline industry suffers a $17 billion annual tax burden, and cannot be expected to both contribute to economic growth and shoulder an already disproportionate government burden. Any effort to amend these tax hikes back into the bill must be swiftly rejected by this Senate.
The bill also authorizes a $73 million increase in funding for the Essential Air Service, a program that underwrites flights to small and rarely-used airports. Coincidentally, many flights subsidized by the EAS allow Members of Congress to fly directly to their districts while taxpayers pick up the tab. This bill would devote $200 million annually to continue these wasteful subsidies – taxpayers deserve better.
Click here to read the entire letter.