The Obama Administration has proposed creating a new and onerous $100 per flight user fee that would not only impose significant new economic and administrative burdens on general aviation operators who currently pay through an efficient per-gallon fuel charge at the pump, but it will also necessitate the creation of a costly new federal collection bureaucracy.
A bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers, governors, mayors and industry stakeholders continues to support the per-gallon fuel tax, rather than adopt a per-flight user fee similar to the one the president has proposed. In addition, many foreign countries have imposed per-flight user fees on general aviation, and the results have been devastating.
Fuel-based fees do not require a new “Sky-R-S” to administer.
Fuel fees are directly remitted to the federal government, eliminating the need for a large bureaucracy to collect the taxes from hundreds of thousands of individual pilots and aircraft owners. Therefore, fees are collected without the administrative costs required to support a large and expensive bureaucracy of collectors, administrators, auditors and accountants.
Fuel Fees Are Easy to Pay and Difficult to Avoid.
Fuel based fees are easy to understand, and simple to pay, and the process raises few audit concerns. Because fuel fees are included in the amount charged for fuel, it is nearly impossible to avoid paying.
Fuel Fees Are Assigned Fairly, Based on an Operator’s Use of the System.
There is no simpler and more accurate way to distinguish between heavy and light users of the system than to measure the amount of fuel burned. Small aircraft use less fuel and pay lower taxes; large aircraft use more fuel and pay higher taxes. If an aircraft flies a longer distance, it will pay more in fuel fees.
Fuel Fees Provide an Environmental Incentive, Decrease Noise and Congestion.
A surcharge on fuel use provides an incentive for general aviation users to purchase newer, cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft. Additionally, fuel fees by their nature penalize operators that use congested airports which require more fuel use for increased taxi and air time.
Aviation User Fee News
March 4, 2014
NBAA said the latest attempt from the White House to impose a per-flight user fee on general aviation ignores the message sent from Congress, mayors, governors and industry stakeholders that user fees are not the right approach to aviation system funding and modernization. Per-flight user fees are a part of President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 spending proposal, released today, which sets budgets for government agencies. Specifically, the page numbered “957” at the link below states: “…the Administration proposes to establish a new surcharge for air traffic services of $100 per flight.”
Read NBAA’s press release restatiing firm opposition to per-flight user fees.
April 8, 2013
NBAA today applauded the 223 members of the U.S. House of Representatives – a majority of Congress – who recently delivered a resounding, bipartisan message to President Obama in opposition to his repeated calls for aviation user fees. A staple of the administration’s past two budget proposals, a $100 per-flight fee on general aviation aircraft is considered likely to again be part of its fiscal year 2014 budget, to be unveiled later this week. In an April 5 letter to the president, House lawmakers termed imposition of aviation user fees “the wrong approach” for reducing the deficit, and called on the president to “abandon this idea once and for all.” Read the lawmakers’ letter to the president.
Business Aviation Leader Tells Congress: User Fees Would Be ‘Devastating’ for Industry
[date]September 12, 2012
The owner of a renowned flight-instruction company told a congressional committee that President Obama’s proposed $100 per-flight user fee “is a bad idea” that will harm thousands of businesses like hers. Martha King, the co-founder of King Schools, shared her perspectives in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, on behalf of the NBAA’s 9,000 Member Companies. Read the NBAA release and Martha King’s full testimony.
June 5, 2012
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has added his voice to the chorus of public officials asking President Obama to set aside his proposal for aviation user fees outlined in the annual federal budget plan the president released earlier this year. In a May 25 letter, the governor decried the Obama administration’s proposed $100 per-flight fee on any aircraft, citing multiple ways in which business airplanes and other general aviation (GA) aircraft are important to the Mount Rushmore State. “The small businesses, farmers, charitable organizations and first responders who count on GA and utilize the airports which support it represent a strategically vital resource for our state,” he wrote. “For this reason, I strongly oppose the imposition of the ‘user fee’ taxes on GA operators in any form.” Read more about Daugaard’s message to the president.
March 12, 2012
The Association today thanked a group of U.S. senators for reminding President Obama that they oppose the $100-per-flight user fee proposed in the president’s fiscal year 2013 federal budget. In a recent letter, 28 senators told the president that bipartisan passage of the comprehensive, multi-year FAA reauthorization bill was “in part because it did not assess new user fees on general aviation.” Noting that a bipartisan group of 195 House members likewise recently sent a letter to the president opposing user fees, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, “The letters from the House and Senate underscore the fact that there is bipartisan, bicameral opposition to user fees on Capitol Hill.” View the NBAA press release. Read the March 12, 2011,View the NBAA press release. Read the March 12, 2011, Senate letter opposing $100-per-flight user fees (655 KB, PDF).
March 2, 2012
NBAA thanked the 195 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who sent a letter to President Obama opposing the $100 per-flight user fee proposed in the administration’s fiscal 2013 budget. The letter expressed stalwart Congressional opposition to this year’s proposed aviation user fee and reminded the president that when past administrations have proposed such fees, “Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen praised those who signed the letter, saying, “We thank the Congressional leaders whose letter reinforces a clear message of Congressional opposition to user fees.” View the NBAA press release. Read a March 1, 2011, View the NBAA press release. Read a March 1, 2011, House letter opposing $100-per-flight user fees (3 MB, PDF).
December 1, 2011
NBAA commended Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for her recent letter to President Obama opposing general aviation user fees. In her November 28, 2011, letter, Sen. Murkowski takes issue with the Administration’s recent proposal to impose a $100 per-flight fee on general aviation aircraft, writing, “The negative impacts associated with the user fees you have proposed would obstruct the Alaskan transportation system and negatively impact the U.S. economy.”
Read a Murkowski’s letter (309 KB, PDF). Read the NBAA press release.