National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Treasurer Marian Epps testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business today on the detrimental impact of user fees. At the hearing titled “User Fees in the Aviation Industry: Turbulence Ahead,” Epps discussed the effects of the slower economy on small businesses supporting the aviation community and the impact the proposed user fee would have on these businesses in a time of recovery.
“In a time when general aviation businesses are looking to spur economic and job growth, the imposition of a user fee would decimate small businesses around the country that depend on general aviation. User fees would also be detrimental to many states with little or no commercial airline service where general aviation plays an integral economic role,” Epps stated.
Epps detailed the critical importance of general aviation businesses to the American economy through their employment of 1.2 million workers and generation of $150 billion annually in economic activity. General aviation and small airports and businesses also provide access to a host of important services and resources, including medical care, law enforcement, disaster relief, mail delivery, fire fighting and flight training.
“User fees would significantly impede general aviation in the United States for a variety of reasons, including a reduction in general aviation activity and the imposition of an onerous administrative burden as user bills are typically generated after the flight,” Epps stated.
Epps said that concerns are high about the ramifications the proposed user fee would have on the aviation industry and the small businesses it represents. The aviation industry believes that the current system of aviation excise taxes is the most stable, efficient and equitable source of funding for the Airport and Airways Trust Fund. The costs associated with user fees far outweigh any benefit to deficit reduction.
Epps concluded by saying that the association looks forward to working with the committee in resolving this important issue and is eager to serve as a valuable resource for aviation businesses during this critical debate.
NATA President Tom Hendricks, commenting on the issue, said, “Not only would any new fees have a lasting negative effect on an industry that contributes significantly to the nation’s exports and world markets, it would also create a federal collection bureaucracy that would require additional funding and manpower, a counterproductive effort.”
To view the testimony, please click here.