April 2007

GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D. C. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill the last few weeks, trying to build support for her new aviation user-fee funding plan. And she's getting a little tired of all the criticism it's been getting. "In recent weeks, the rhetoric about our finance reform bill has become very, shall I say, animated and aggressive?" she told a meeting of airport executives on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. "It's mighty frustrating…If the FAA really wanted to kill General Aviation, as our critics claim, we'd just sit back and do nothing. We'd leave the air traffic system just the way it is, and let congestion slowly squeeze them out." Blakey asked the executives to support the FAA's efforts, and said some of the agency's proposed changes would be beneficial to airports. "No matter how you slice it, our bill allows airports to meet their capital needs," she said. "If Congress fails to act on our bill by September, airports will immediately feel the pinch. That new runway you're hoping for may start late in the construction season or be lost for the entire year."

Secondly, If we're to be successful in the fight against the governments user-fee proposal, general aviation (GA) has to continue to stand together and work through the U. S. Congress to defeat it. And although it was reassuring to hear broad skepticism and bipartisan opposition to the Bush Administration's plan during the initial House Aviation Subcommittee hearing, it's clearly going to be a tough battle.

Bipartisan comments heard from the Subcommittee members:

Chairman Jerry F. Costello (D-Illinois) cited figures showing the new proposal would hypothetically yield approximately $600 million less in FY2008 than maintaining the current tax structure and more than 900 million less from FY2009 to FY2012. "I question the wisdom of moving to a new financing system that will not generate as much revenue as the current tax structure when we clearly need to make critical investments now to ensure that our nation's air traffic control infrastructure is robust for the future," Costello said.

Rep. Robin Hayes (R-North Carolina) called the 300 percent tax hike on GA fuels (from 21 to 70 cents per gallon) "deadly" and felt there was "no way user fees are fair, equitable, and are going to work."

Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) used the terms "unfair" and "unwise," calling for members to "sit together and work this out."

His Michigan colleague from across the aisle, Republican Vern Ehlers, went a step further, pronouncing the proposal "Dead on arrival," also advocating a need to "sit down together and work out long-range solutions."

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) noted the proposed 300 percent fuel tax hike (56.4 cents for air traffic control, 13.6 cents for the trust fund) would "depress GA activity and at best result in lower revenue."

And Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri), and an annual Air Venture attendee, is terribly disturbed by this proposal. "I don't even know where to start," he said. "I understand that you come in on opposite sides and work toward the middle, but even the middle is unacceptable. I don't see anything but bad news with this."

Thirdly, The bottom line: Write your Congressman and Senators and let them know your staunch opposition to user-fees.

Here's an update concerning Missouri Aviation. The only Airports and Aviation Bills are as follows:

94th General Assembly, 1st Regular Session (2007)
Bills Indexed by Subject

HB 118 --- Sponsor: Schaaf, Robert
Specifies the situations in which the Civil Air Patrol may be activated, which missions are federal or state, and who pays for the missions

HB 302 --- Sponsor: Bruns, Mark J. --- CoSponsor: Schaaf, Robert
Relating to State Aviation Trust Funds and air traffic control towers partially funded by the federal government under a cost-sharing program

HB 305 --- Sponsor: Bruns, Mark J. --- CoSponsor: Page, Sam
Increases the limit on the amount deposited to the aviation trust fund to eight million five hundred thousand dollars

HB 529 --- Sponsor: Bruns, Mark J.
Changes the laws regarding the Aviation Trust Fund and air traffic control towers

HB 571 --- Sponsor: St. Onge, Neal C. --- CoSponsor: Schneider, Vicki
Changes the definition of "commercial aircraft" by lowering the maximum certified gross take-off weight from 7,000 to 1,000 pounds

HB 619 --- Sponsor: Aull, Joe --- CoSponsor: Schaaf, Robert
Specifies the situations in which the Civil Air Patrol may be activated, which missions are federal or state, and who pays for the missions

HB 624 --- Sponsor: Wilson, Larry --- CoSponsor: Quinn, Paul
Requires operators of storage facilities to provide documentation for property tax purposes

SB 120 --- Sponsor: Nodler, Gary
Increases the cap on the Aviation Trust Fund and allows the Aviation Trust Fund to be used for certain federal air traffic control cost-sharing programs

SB 602 --- Sponsor: Kennedy, Harry
Creates a sales and use tax exemption for purchases of aviation fuel for transoceanic flights

Note: Here's your web site address for Texas Legislation:
Look for Transportation-Aviation, to search all Aviation Bills.

Note: Here's your web site address for Illinois Legislation:
Look for Transportation-Aviation, to search all Aviation Bills.

Now, In Conclusion, Remember, we as USPA, MPA, EAA, AOPA, or any other State Pilot Associations of which you may be a member, all have a powerful voice, be it here in Missouri, Indiana, Texas, or whatever state you may represent. Every group of pilots and taxpayers carries a strong voice to Washington, D.C., and on the State and Local Level.

So Let's not forget to exercise our privileges, and continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."


Larry G. Harmon
Legislation Chairman
E-mail address:

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