Thursday, April 12, 2007

When the going
gets tough, the
tough band together.


The FAA and the administration have thrown down their gauntlet, and now it's war, baby.

The Administration would like their “User Fees” tax proposal to slip through Congress unnoticed, so their airline cronies can reap the benefit of shifting much of the FAA funding burden off of their backs and onto ours. Trouble with that plan is that we're watching this time.

To fight this fight, a large number of rural, agricultural, and charitable organizations, local governments, small business, and aviation groups and professionals have banded together, calling itself the Alliance for Aviation Across America. The fight they are fighting is meant to eliminate this threat:
From AOPA.org: The coalition was formed to fight the legislation proposed by FAA and the airlines that would dramatically increase general aviation fuel taxes, charge user fees to most aviation segments, and significantly reduce the airlines' financial contribution toward the FAA's costs.
That last line ought to tell you all you need to know about this issue.

Gene Wright, Mayor of Quinwood, West Virginia, pilot and a coalition member had this to say:
“Our coalition is here to send a clear message to lawmakers that we stand united against a radical “user fees” proposal which would decimate businesses and communities around our country through a huge tax hike. This special interest legislation would benefit no one but the big commercial airlines. The “user fees” proposal was introduced as part of the Administration’s plan for FAA reauthorization, and would directly offset a multi-billion dollar tax break for the airlines by imposing a new tax hike on general aviation -- the businesses, organizations and farmers and ranchers that use small planes.
The list of groups that make up the coalition include the expected aviation players:

Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Angel Flight
National Business Aviation Association
Aircraft Electronics Association
Helicopter Association International
National Aircraft Resale Association
International Council of Air Shows
Experimental Aircraft Association
National Air Transportation Association
National Association of Aviation Officials

But the rest of the list might surprise you...it did me:

National Agricultural Aviation Association
Mississippi Livestock Marketing Association
National Farmers Union
League of Rural Voters

It's those last four that should tell the FAA that they've finally gone too far. The proud farmers and ranchers of this country are some of the hardest working, honest people in the land, and I have nothing but respect for them. But when someone tries to stab them in the back, their toughness shows through and they fight back hard.

This coalition is a very good idea, and I plan on joining ASAP. We need to muster every conceivable idea and tactic we can to fight off what could be GA's biggest threat ever. Even if you are living in the reddest of red states, this user fee tax scheme will screw you to the ground if you are a pilot, a flight school, FBO, airframe maker, or manufacturer of anything pilots buy.

So please go visit the coalition's website here, email them your questions here, or call them at the number below:

Alliance for Aviation Across America
1100 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 223-9523

UPDATE @925P on 041207:
When I began this post this afternoon, the AAAA site showed a fairly short list of corporate, organization and individual members. I just went back in there to join myself, and the list seems to have grown to maybe a MILE long! You have to scroll forever to find the end. This is great news. Also, when you join, use their super-easy mail system to send your Reps. and Senators a quick easy formatted email with your name attached.