The President’s proposal to address the Fiscal Cliff included a “closing of the loophole” accorded to business aircraft. As noted in the quick responses by GAMA and NBAA, the technical issue is the depreciation schedule created by Congress to encourage the manufacture of these capital assets. Their comments also pointed out that deletion of this section of the Internal Revenue Code would harm the workers who build these vehicles. The issue was given substantial coverage by the aviation trade press.
The headline quoted (and the link) were issued by NBAA before the President’s proposal. Bolen’s call for Congressional support was prescient for business aviation. Clearly making sure that the Senators and Representatives understand the value of this segment of aviation is time critical as the Fiscal Cliff once again becomes a threat.
Washington’s political landscape can be assessed in the tiny fissure lines that can be detected. Although NextGen is the largest civil infrastructure being deployed today,
- Neither party mentioned aviation in their platforms
- There was no mention of aviation in the Presidential Debates
- The President made glancing mention of other transportation modes, but no reference to aviation
Why is this major contributor to the national economy ignored? Political animals are uncomfortable trying to make major policy decisions in a micro economy like aviation when that multi-faceted sector cannot agree. Members of Congress are more likely to propose legislation which is likely to pass; they abhor submitting a bill and then having to deal with opposition.
Aviation’s future political issues involve complex, conflicting issues—funding, priorities for implementing NextGen, equipage, PFC limits, environmental concerns and a host of other considerations. Now is the time for the aviation leadership to demonstrate statesmanship and to find a consensus in which an industry solution balancing issues, each segment giving and taking. Without such a unified position, accelerated depreciation will be the first of many assaults on aviation. Legislation will be enacted that incrementally cuts, for example, General Fund support of the FAA budgets. As long as the aviation industry is balkanized it is perceived as weak and an easy target for legislative slices of this industry.
Leadership, statesmanship is needed!Share this article: