Posted by: Jeff Rhodes | September 21, 2011

User Fees Are Targeted Taxation

The Obama “Jobs” plan proposes a whole host of new and higher taxes and fees.  The public sound bites that are being delivered for the general electorate’s benefit promise higher taxes for the “rich” – a term that has never been defined.  But, the plan also proposes many types of fees that will impact people in ways that they may not yet realize.  One such group of fees is – yet again – user fees for general aviation. 

The aviation alphabet groups have repeatedly demonstrated that user fees are an aviation industry killer.  Most of the rest of the world has demonstrated this fact for decades.  Corporate aviation has been in this administration’s gun sights for a long time, and this is just the latest strafing run.

Why target general aviation?  The group is generally conservative-leaning, and not inclined to be a large voting block for the administration.  The group is politically weak –  the number corporate aircraft operators can really be counted on just a few thousand fingers and don’t matter much to those in Washington.  Corporate aircraft users are also easy to demagogue in a struggling economy.  “Corporate fat cats flying in private luxury jets” is an image that has been purposefully placed in the minds of much of the American public.  Imposing massive taxes on those people is FINE with an uninformed public. Their view – “if we raise lots of money from them-fine.  If they go away as a group – fine, too.”

Full disclosure – my occupation and my avocation both depend on general aviation.  But my real problem with aviation user fees is much more philosophic in nature.  I am very much opposed to any kind of targeted taxation.  It’s a VERY dangerous proposition.  When we allow the government to identify  politically weak groups and bleed them of their wealth with the blessing of an uncaring and largely unaffected public, then we need to look over our shoulders – because we might be the next target.  If we need higher taxes – OK – make that case and let’s raise taxes. (personally, I don’t think we need higher taxes, but I’m willing to have that debate in the public idea arena).  But don’t go after a small group of people that can’t defend themselves and vote to kill their industry. 

If aviation is your passion, or if aviation serves your business needs – or, if you fundamentally believe in equal protection under the law – stand up and say “NO!” to this ridiculous jobs plan being proposed. 

Contact congress and let them know that you support this important, and uniquely American industry.

http://www.nbaa.org/advocacy/contact/


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