Airlines Attempt To Reintroduce Tax Cut Scheme
They're still at it. The Air Transport Association, the lobbying
organization representing the major airlines, attempted Wednesday
to repackage and reintroduce for the second time their latest tax
cut scheme as the House Ways and Means Committee’s Select
Revenue Measures Subcommittee considered FAA reauthorization. The
airlines unveiled their plan with less than 22 legislative days
left before funding for FAA expires.
“What we saw today was just more of the same from the big,
commercial airlines,” said Selena Shilad, Executive Director
of the Alliance Aviation Across America -- a group of general
aviation interests working to stave off user fees for small
aircraft pilots. “This proposal was unpopular when it was
first introduced, and no amount of repackaging changes the fact
that it amounts to nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to get
yet another huge tax cut.”
The Alliance says ATA’s proposal was originally presented
in the US Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy,
Natural Resources and Infrastructure hearing by a representative of
one of the major commercial airlines on July 24. The plan would
radically overhaul the current funding structure in favor of a new
ticket tax formula that would provide a huge tax break for the
Specifically, the airlines’ plan would implement a new
departure tax for airline passengers, and a new tax structure for
ticket taxes that is based on the number of miles flown on a trip.
An exception is built into the proposal for flights of less than
250 miles... which would include some of the airlines’ most
profitable and congested routes.
In fact, 25% of the top 12 busiest routes in the country would
be tax exempt under the airlines’ proposal, according to the
Alliance -- creating a significant loss of revenue for air traffic
ATA President James May maintains the provision would help small
communities... but the Alliance says it's clear no one but the
airlines would benefit from this exemption. That assertion is
backed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which has
testified to Congress, when the airlines receive a tax break,
savings are never passed onto airline customers.
In fact, as the last two GAO studies have concluded, when the
commercial airlines have received tax breaks in the past, the
airlines have kept their fares the same or raised them.
The Alliance and leading charitable
organizations, general aviation groups, and businesses around the
country have supported HR 2881, which was recently passed out of
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and
represents a common sense approach to FAA reauthorization that
would dramatically increase modernization funding, while retaining
the current, simple, easy to use excise tax system.
The sponsors of HR 2881 from the Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee testified today before the Ways and Means
Committee against overhauling the current, efficient fuel tax
system in favor of user fees.
By contrast, S. 1300 -- which recently passed out of the Senate
Commerce Committee -- would create a new “user fee”
tax. Also proposed was an elimination the $.043 per gallon fuel tax
airlines currently pay, while general aviation would be faced with
a more than doubling of the fuel tax.
The Alliance says that means commercial airlines would net out
with a huge tax giveaway... directly shouldered by general