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Thu, Jun 30, 2011

Industry Reaction Strong To President Obama's Proposed Tax Changes

GAMA, IAMAW, AAAA, NATA Join Chorus Against Changes In Accelerated Depreciation, Other Remarks Deemed Disparaging To GA

The Aviation Trade associations have rapidly responded ... and in a very negative way ... to remarks made by President Obama during a news conference Wednesday in which he proposed ending accelerated depreciation for business aircraft, and took what many viewed as a swipe at the industry by referring to tax breaks for "corporate jet owners."

In a joint letter to President Obama, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) expressed deep concern over recent comments and actions questioning the value of corporate aircraft use and proposing tax changes that would negatively impact the entire general aviation industry.

The letter emphasized that while ill-informed criticism of corporate jets and business aviation may appear to some as good politics, the reality is that it hurts one of the leading manufacturing and export industries in the United States.  This kind of criticism has also led to the layoff of over 20,000 IAM members.

The Administration has renewed its emphasis on strengthening U.S. manufacturing, so it seems very perplexing that it would choose to demonize this specific industry as it begins to recover and return workers to their high-skilled jobs. “The Administration has a laudable goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years.  How then can President Obama attack a manufacturing sector that exported over 60 percent of the value of its products in 2010?  General aviation manufacturers can help the president meet his export goals, but not if this damaging rhetoric continues,” said GAMA President and CEO, Pete Bunce.

"Words have consequences and, in this industry, a few misguided words can put at risk even the ever-so-modest recovery we have experienced. What this industry and its workforce requires is more time to recover, a chance to book more orders and the opportunity to recall more workers,” said Tom Buffenbarger, IAM International President.

The Alliance for Aviation Across America released the following statement in response to comments made by President Obama about general aviation at a press conference Wednesday:

“We were deeply disappointed by the President’s comments today, which not only mischaracterized general aviation and its importance for our economy, but discussed an increased tax burden for general aviation operators. 

“Contrary to the President’s comments, the truth is that the vast majority of those who depend on general aviation are small to mid-sized businesses, charitable groups, medical providers, law enforcement, flight schools and disaster relief personnel that use general aviation to better serve customers, deliver crucially needed goods and services, and reach plants and far off places.  In fact, for thousands of rural communities around the country, general aviation is a literal lifeline, allowing local officials to attract business, and retain access to medical care, resources and services.  All told, these businesses and aircraft support over 1.2 billion jobs and $150 billion in economic impact nationally.

“At such a vulnerable time for our economy, we need to do everything we can to support these businesses and groups, which represent a significant segment of our national economy, and serve as a lifeline to small towns and local economies around the nation.  We will continue to work with the Administration and Members of Congress to counter these types of mischaracterizations about general aviation and ensure that we protect these aircraft and our network of airports.”

National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and Chief Executive Officer James K. Coyne, on behalf of NATA's 2,000 member companies, said in a statement he is appalled by President Barack Obama's attacks on general aviation during a press conference Wednesday. The president stated that the White House is going to push to eliminate or scale back a series of tax deductions, including tax depreciation schedules for general aviation airplanes, in hopes of raising as much as $400 billion in new revenue over ten years.  

"President Obama has repeatedly degraded the value of general aviation to our nation's economy.  This time, he does so a day after appearing at an American aircraft manufacturing facility to promote job growth," Coyne stated. "It is perplexing why the President continues to bash an industry that is responsible for thousands of manufacturing, maintenance and service jobs."   

"The President's comments before a national audience could weaken consumer confidence in general aviation utilization at a time when economic indicators are demonstrating that the community is finally starting to recover from the recession. The President should instead promote the many vital contributions of the general aviation industry to the U.S. economy," Coyne concluded.  

FMI: www.gama.aero, www.goiam.org, www.aviationacrossamerica.org, www.nata.aero

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