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HAI President Zuccaro Calls Out Attack on GA

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HAI President Zuccaro Calls Out Attack on GA


Helicopter Association International (HAI) President Matt Zuccaro this week joined the leaders of six major aviation associations in calling for members of Congress to discard a legislative proposal that would impose a $25 “departure fee” on both airlines and general aviation. This, in combination with the reported change to the depreciation schedule for aircraft, would cause undue burden and threaten the stability of the helicopter industry. A letter co-signed by Zuccaro was delivered to each member of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, telling lawmakers that tying aviation to the current negotiations to raise the debt ceiling would revisit these resoundingly discredited approaches to raising revenues from the aviation industry.


With 14 million people out of work in the U.S., businesses not hiring due to economic uncertainty and struggling to meet payroll, Zuccaro said “Now is not the time to revisit the bad idea of user fees.” Zuccaro believes this type of targeted legislative “solution” will lead to further economic difficulties, punish middle class workers, and result in a significantly detrimental effect on the helicopter industry. “Helicopters perform missions on a daily basis for the greater good of society, such as emergency medical transport, aerial firefighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster relief, national security, and counterterrorism. Helicopter operators already pay more than their fair share when one considers their minimal impact on the ATC infrastructure.” Zuccaro emphasized, “Enough is enough!”


HAI needs you to contact your House Member and your two Senators today by phone and email and ask to speak with the aviation or transportation staffer. To obtain telephone numbers and email links, please visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. Any change in current law that would allow for a private aircraft user fee would be detrimental to our industry, and your voice in Washington needs to be heard. Taxes on fuel have been a sustainable way of attaining revenue from the aviation industry. By adding user fees and changing the depreciation schedule of aircraft, the helicopter industry would strain to meet tax obligations that are above and beyond those of other industries.


A change to the depreciation schedule for general aviation aircraft or the implementation of user fees will not reduce the deficit or have any significant effect on the growing U.S. debt problem, but it will negatively affect every segment of the helicopter industry. This dangerous legislative change to current law would jeopardize more than 1.2 million jobs throughout the United States and seriously impact many small businesses which are the engine of aviation. Middle class workers would be punished by such a short sighted approach, including those who work in industries that support general aviation, including aircraft and avionics manufacturing, ground support, maintenance, scheduling and dispatch, and the related infrastructure.


The general aviation industry contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy each year, with general aviation aircraft forming an essential component of the transportation system. The GA industry employs workers across the country to support all sizes of business and enable helicopter operators to perform more efficiently and maintain productivity. Businesses, charitable groups, flight schools, and medical providers would be faced with a new tax burden that could jeopardize countless communities that rely on general aviation helicopters to provide access to business tools, medical care, law enforcement, disaster relief, and other vital services.

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