FAA, state fuel tax proposals deal double blow to GA

It's one of pilots' worst nightmares: $1 or more in taxes tacked onto every gallon of aviation fuel you buy. For many popular single-engine aircraft, that's an extra $10 an hour in fuel taxes alone.

But this scenario is exactly the situation AOPA is fighting head on at the national and state levels. In addition to the FAA's proposal to increase the national aviation fuel tax from 19.4 cents to 70 cents a gallon, state legislators are proposing their own tax increases on aviation fuel. Such a one-two punch could devastate general aviation.

"We are deeply concerned about any state initiatives to increase aviation taxes or fees," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "It makes little sense for states to act this year to change their aviation tax policies until they understand what action Congress will take and how it will affect the aviation industry."

Utah and Oregon are two states that have legislation on raising the fuel tax.

Utah Rep. Wayne A. Harper wanted to nearly double the fuel tax in his state from 9 to 17 cents a gallon. The House Government Operations Standing Committee did not pass the bill and returned the bill to the House Rules Committee to be studied during the interim this summer.

In Oregon, a bill sponsored by Reps. Mitch Greenlick and E. Terry Beyer, would increase the fuel tax and establish a schedule for future increases to take place every five years.

AOPA explained to Oregon legislators that the exorbitant costs slated for general aviation in the FAA's funding proposal would have a crippling effect on the GA industry, which currently supports 1.3 million jobs and more than $102 billion total economic activity.

"For that reason," Pecoraro told Oregon officials, "we strongly urge you to table this proposal until we all learn how Congress will settle the future of our nation's aviation system."

March 1, 2007