posted on February 26, 2013 12:55
President Obama is once again hammering corporate aviation with calls to end the alternate depreciation tax plan for corporate aircraft, saying it would help reduce the impacts of the looming sequester.
“I find it unbelievable that such continued initiatives, seemingly aimed at eliminating General Aviation, are being promoted by a President who is one of the most frequent users of corporate aircraft via his travel on the peoples’ aircraft, that we pay for,” said Matt Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International.
“I support his use of these aircraft to perform his duties and responsibilities,” Zuccaro continued. “But is it too much to ask that private individuals and corporations also be allowed to realize the benefits of General Aviation for their business activities? Especially since we pay our own way by the millions of dollars we already give to the government via existing aviation-related taxes, while 1.2 million jobs and contributing $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually, as we serve the needs of society. This is especially true with regard to helicopter operations such as law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical transport, power line construction and repair, etc.”
The tax plan allows general aviation aircraft to be depreciated over five years rather than seven for commercial aircraft. Eliminating the tax plan would only pay for a small fraction of the billions in domestic spending cuts that sequestration threatens to impose March 1.
President Obama told media outlets this week his administration’s push to end a corporate tax benefit for jet owners is not about cutting aviation jobs – and that instead he hopes to make things easier for aviation companies, but not corporate jet owners. “What we don’t want to do is give somebody who’s buying a corporate jet an extra tax break that ordinary people can’t get because they don’t need it,” he said.
The exchange between the White House and industry started when Press Secretary Jay Carney said that it would be a “better option” to make the “difficult choice” to change the depreciation plan and possibly hurt manufacturing jobs in order to chip away at the sequester and its domestic spending cuts.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) CEO Pete Bunce fired back at the White House and demanded an apology, saying, “These statements are totally outrageous and Mr. Carney should apologize. It’s completely offensive to refer to hard working Americans as ‘difficult choices.’ This Administration should stop the sound bites and political games and focus on fixing our economy.”
Echoing Bunce, Zuccaro noted, “Instead of inflicting further damage to General Aviation this administration should be working with us to create a favorable environment that will foster growth, employment and world leadership as it relates to aviation activities.”
HAI continues to fight along with other aviation associations on all fronts regarding this issue and will keep our membership updated on a regular basis.