White House Rejects Congressional Plea on GA User Fees
April 26, 2012 - Nearly 200 members of the House of Representatives have received the same polite but curt response from the White House as the GA community received earlier this year to requests to keep user fees off the table in the Obama administration's proposed budget:
Thanks for your input, but we're not listening.
The bipartisan group of House members sent a letter to President Obama on March 1, expressing strong opposition to a proposed $100-per-flight fee on commercial aviation and some segments of general aviation as part of the president's Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The letter reminded the White House that user fees have been overwhelmingly and consistently rejected by Congress over the past 15 years and a user fee system would be harmful to aviation's economic recovery.
The Office of Management and Budget responded for the White House on April 10 in much the same manner that it addressed last fall's "We the People" online petition that made the same request. Many of the reply's statements, written by OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, were nearly verbatim to those in the agency's January response to the online petition.
"The aviation community doesn't want user fees and Congress doesn't want user fees, yet the White House seems determined to keep pushing this issue," said Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. "For all the talk in OMB's response regarding fairness, a user fee system would create a very unfair tax on aviation, along with safety concerns and an enormous new bureaucracy to collect and administer this tax."
In February, Congress passed and President Obama signed a full FAA Reauthorization Bill that specifically excluded user fees as part of FAA's funding.
EAA has maintained that GA aircraft owners and pilots already pay their fair share of the small percentage of air traffic services they use through fuel taxes. Even pilots who never use ATC services pay for the system through the use of aviation gasoline and jet fuel.
The new $100-per-flight proposal would exempt all piston aircraft, military aircraft, public aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights. GA organizations have remained "stronger together," united behind a no GA user fee stance, as implementation of such fees could quickly expand to include all GA operations.