User Fees Issue Resurfaces
February 27, 2009 — The recently unveiled Obama Administration’s proposed budget includes a line item calling for aviation “direct user charges” - in other words, user fees.
Page 129 of the White House budget proposal suggests user fees to replace some repealed aviation excise taxes. It’s a notion we’ve heard before: dismantle a fuel-tax system that is already in place and working, and replace it with a whole new system of user-fee collections requiring more expensive bureaucracy.
Like some previous iterations of user-fees proposals, this one specifies that “the user charges are considered discretionary and offset discretionary budget authority and outlays.” This means there’s no guarantee that proceeds from these user fees would apply toward NAS modernization, the Aviation Trust Fund, or other special aviation needs. Rather, they would simply offset the general deficit.
Consistent with previous opposition, EAA’s government relations staff unit stands behind its analysis and conclusion that a user fees system would draw disproportionately from general aviation to fund the FAA and air traffic control operations.
EAA’s government relations staff representatives have maintained a dialogue with key members of Congress and their staff members on the user fees issue. With this revelation in the administration’s budget proposal, EAA is accelerating this outreach work. Furthermore, EAA continues to forge relationships with the new administration, legislators, and committee members on The Hill, and new agency staff appointees.
The strength of EAA’s 160,000 united members is integral to this effort. Your preparedness to take grassroots action when called upon is a potent tool in combating this threat.