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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Truth About General Aviation

As a board member of the Alliance for Aviation Across America, I understand the importance that general aviation plays in ensuring the vitality of so many communities, businesses and organizations that depend on this form of transportation for their livelihood -- indeed their very existence. So, when the President talked about taxing "corporate jets" to generate more revenue I took notice. Similar to how we at the SBE Council take notice when elected officials talk about making "high-income" people pay their "fair share" of taxes. Many of these taxpayers are small business owners and the self-employed who file taxes as individuals. Therefore, these entrepreneurs would get hit with higher taxes at a time when they need such resources to survive, grow their businesses, and hire more employees.

Another important group took notice of President Obama's singling out of general aviation as well.

Mayors from seven different states across the country sent a letter to President Obama on July 11, voicing their disappointment with his comments regarding general aviation and potential, additional tax burdens on businesses, individuals and groups that rely on this crucial form of transportation. The local officials joined a growing group of businesses and organizations that have highlighted the negative repercussions of the President's comments on an industry which represents an important part of the economy.

The text of the letter is below:

July 11, 2011

The Honorable President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our deep concern regarding your recent comments about general aviation, which not only mischaracterized these aircraft and their crucial importance for our economy, but suggested an increased tax burden for general aviation operators. General aviation is a vital part of our economy and national infrastructure, and we are extremely concerned about the repercussions of your statements on an already struggling industry.

General aviation is an economic engine for our national economy, supporting 1.2 million America jobs, over $150 billion in economic impact annually. These aircraft and the airports they utilize are a literal lifeline to thousands of communities across our nation, providing access to business growth, law enforcement, disaster relief, medical care and other services. They are utilized to train young pilots, reunite veterans back from overseas with their families, help to transport blood and organs to residents in rural communities, and help our companies to reach customers in markets that otherwise could not be reached.

As you know, the vast majority of businesses and organizations that own and utilize general aviation are not wealthy CEOs. Rather, they are small to mid-sized businesses and organizations that rely on these aircraft to reach far-off plants and customers, serve rural markets without access to commercial aviation, or deliver medical care and other services. We can tell you firsthand that these aircraft are a crucial tool and resource for businesses in our communities; businesses that keep our communities afloat and help workers to be able to continue to put food on their table for their families.

At such a vulnerable time for our economy, we need to be doing everything we can to support this vital industry. We stand ready to work with you and Members of Congress on this and all issues related to communities and local economies around the nation.


Mayor Carl Brewer -- Wichita, Kansas
Mayor Mary Ann Maynard -- Stuttgart, Arkansas
Mayor Steve Van Oort -- Ankeny, Iowa
Mayor Matt Bemrich -- Fort Dodge, Iowa
Mayor Dick Kirchoff -- Le Mars, Iowa
Mayor Robert C. Willey -- Easton, Maryland
Mayor Dave McGirr -- Huron, South Dakota
Mayor Dave Hahn -- Wall, South Dakota
Mayor Margaret Larson -- Arlington, Washington
Mayor Bob Goedde -- Chelan, Washington

The White House needs to get informed on general aviation. At his press events, President Obama has been mischaracterizing the industry, and the majority of those who depend on general aviation.

A June 29 media release from the Alliance for Aviation Across America responded to the President by noting the following facts:

“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 million 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.”

Indeed, it is a vulnerable time for the economy as small businesses can well attest. Now is not the time to be raising taxes on job creators, or critical industries, or those who depend on general aviation to keep their economies strong, and communities safe and healthy.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

1 comment:

Douglas Boyd Ph.D. said...

To help dispel the notion that GA is just a self-serving interest for a few well-heeled folks you might cite a few examples of the contributions of general aviation to the community e.g. charitable flights. In Houston, we have a program for folks with a fear of flying which uses GA for a gradual exposure to the flight environment.