Plane Ticket Taxes
President Bush told Congress this week that he wants to fund the FAA in a new way, by killing taxes on passenger tickets and replacing them with user fees for commercial airlines.
That actually could be a more fair way to do it, depending on the details. That's because corporate jet owners don't currently pay their fair share. More than 18% of flights are business jets, but they pay just 5% of FAA fees that pay for air traffic control.
"Whether there are three or 300 passengers on an aircraft, to an air traffic controller, a blip is a blip on the radar screen," said James C. May, president of the Air Transport Association, the leading airline trade group.
However, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), doesn't want to change the system. His aide last week didn't say why. I'm sure it has nothing to do with business jet lobbyists, and am sitting by waiting for an explanation.
Look for lobbyists to be out in force. In fact, if you've ever thought you'd make a great lobbyist in the transportation area, this would be a great week to apply for a job. Next week the Transportation Dept. will spell out the nitty gritty.
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