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A Tax by Any Other Name
September 13, 2012
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  • When speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana said, “I’ll let you in on a little secret: when a politician doesn’t want to be honest about a tax hike, he calls it a fee.” This is very true, especially in the case of general aviation “user fees.” Let’s be honest, this is a tax, a $100-per-flight tax that would devastate the general aviation industry.

    But whatever term is used to describe it, user fees would place an enormous burden on small businesses, especially in rural areas, on farms and crop-dust pilots, on nonprofit organizations that work to better people’s quality of life, firefighters and natural disaster relief workers. Beyond the monetary cost of the tax, additional regulatory burdens would be placed on those who rely on general aviation to comply with the law.

    The effects of user fees do not change when you call it different name; at the end of the day, it’s still just the same bad policy.