June 2007

GREETINGS! First, Here is an update from Washington, D.C. Some 150 Iowa pilots and aviation professionals made it quite clear, they don't like aviation user fees, they don't think a significant general aviation tax increase is necessary, and they definitely don't want the airlines to get an unwarranted tax break. Those were some of the opinions expressed at a congressional town hall meeting on June 4, 2007 at the Ankeny Regional Airport just north of Des Moines, Iowa. And it was a message that Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D-Iowa), sponsor of the meeting, and his invited congressional colleagues Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Aviation subcommittee, and aviation subcommittee member Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), concurred with.

Boswell spoke of the importance of general aviation in attracting economic development to Iowa, pointing specifically to the new Iowa Speedway that the city of Newton had been able to attract because of Newton Municipal Airport (TNU).

Boswell, an AOPA member, flew Rep. Costello to the meeting in his Piper Comanche.

Costello, speaking about the FAA funding bills currently in Congress, said that he, as aviation subcommittee chairman, was "adamantly opposed" to the FAA's proposed bill, which would impose user fees and increase avgas taxes by some 50 cents per gallon.

And he said he didn't much like the Senate bill either, which would give the airlines a huge tax break and charge a user fee to turbine-powered aircraft.

Costello said that as far as he was concerned, user fees were dead, General Aviation airports should continue to be funded at existing levels, and that the general fund should pay for about 25 percent of the FAA's budget.
He anticipated that the House version of an FAA funding bill would be out in about two weeks. He predicted that it would move quickly through the various committees because all of the important issues will have been agreed upon.

Secondly, Rep. James Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told Bloomberg News on Thursday June 7, 2007, there will be no mention of user fees in the House's version of the FAA reauthorization bill. The Minnesota Democrat (Cirrus' headquarters in Duluth is in his district) said "none of what the (Bush) Administration is proposing" is in the House bill. "We're plotting a path to achieving it without the Administration's fees," he said. Just what that path is wasn't clear, but Bloomberg seemed to gather from its interview with Oberstar that he believes the existing system of fuel taxes on general aviation and ticket and cargo taxes on commercial aviation will sustain the FAA as it embarks on a massive modernization program.

Last month the Senate approved a $25 per flight "modernization surcharge" on business aircraft (everywhere except Alaska) in its FAA reauthorization bill, but it's getting major opposition from General Aviation groups that fear the establishment of a user-fee billing and collecting system will just open to more of the same. The Air Transport Association, which lobbied tirelessly to have user fees implemented, is still holding out hope that the House bill will address what it sees as inequities in the funding of the airspace system. "We're tired of subsidizing corporate aviation," ATA spokesman David Castelveter told Bloomberg.

Thirdly, Here's an update concerning Missouri Aviation. The only Airport 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:

Who represents me in Jefferson City?

Back to Larry's Main Page

Back to the current President's Main Page