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Truly a fascinating week in Washington
Truly a fascinating week in Washington
… as the business aviation sector dodges a tax bullet while FAA and airport infrastructure funding remain in limbo. Aviation groups had feared that, fueled by recent comments by President Obama, new user fees for the industry would surface during the debt ceiling debate on Capitol Hill. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Relates National Business Aviation Association president/CEO Ed Bolen, “As everyone knows, the recent negotiations over the debt ceiling have included rhetoric and policy proposals that have alarmed the business aviation community. Remarks denigrating companies that rely on business aviation have been used to revive proposals for onerous user fees and impromptu changes to aircraft tax policy.” Meanwhile, Rep. Mica and the House reportedly left town for recess, leaving the onus on the Senate to either pass the House continuing resolution bill, or punt the industry. The good members decided to punt. Thus, the system that relates to airports (other than ATC) is shut down; a whole bunch of money isn’t going into the Aviation Trust Fund; and projects and grant dissemination are on hold. And a lot of construction workers got put on hold as well … many of them likely union members. (Recall that a major point of contention between the Senate and House bills involves unions — specifically FedEx versus UPS.) At the very least … the industry isn’t happy that Rep. Mica would draw the line in the sand for a continuing resolution. In the Senate, Mr. Rockefeller doesn’t like to be bullied. Thus, the impasse. For what it’s worth, I’m on Mica’s side. Here’s why … Consider this: For four years the aviation industry has been bantering with Congress over long-term reauthorization. (Where is Rep. Bud Shuster when you need him?) It was an industry discussion, period. The House decides to play a card and all of a sudden the idea of FAA shutting down and thousands of construction jobs being put on hold captures the nation, and the media. Every news outlet, from CNN/FOX/MSNBC/PBS to the networks to practically every local daily newspaper in America is talking about funding airports and the FAA. People working in public relations and marketing live for moments like this – millions of dollars of free coverage (generally on the industry’s side, I might add) on the issue industry is trying to get resolved. That’s the moment to grab onto, as an industry. Airports Council International-North America’s president Greg Principato has been working it in media outlets. From what I’ve seen, most of the other associations are going after Congress in their media blitz. When you have the nation’s attention, which happens rarely, the time is ripe to beat the message home to the constituency.

Поделиться: http://www.airportbusiness.com/interactive/2011/08/03/truly-a-fascinating-week-in-washington/ John F. Infanger

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