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"Opinion: Senate FAA legislation undermines small businesses"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 11:49:26 -0500
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Another voice/Air fuel taxes
Senate FAA legislation undermines small businesses
By Richard Shine
The Buffalo (NY) News
Somewhere in New York, a machine has worked its last day. While its tenure
at a plant may have been long, it will not be laid to rest in a landfill far
Instead, it will be remade and put back to work somewhere else - which is
where my company, Manitoba Corp., comes in. By using a small airplane, we
are able to quickly connect with customers in New York and beyond to ensure
that the old metal is put to better use.
For four generations we have been recycling scrap metal for manufacturing
plants around New York. After 1970, the number of manufacturing plants
shrunk in Western New York, where our company was based, causing many of my
competitors to go out of business. Faced with the major decision about
whether to follow suit, I persuaded my father to buy a small airplane to
allow us to connect with customers beyond our local area. The aircraft gave
us access to other offices and the Midwest.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration has been trying to block small
businesses like mine from succeeding by eliminating the use of the small
airplane. The FAA's objective has gained a foothold in the Senate, where the
Commerce Committee recently approved Bill S. 1300.
This proposal shifts billions of dollars in taxes onto small plane operators
through a per flight "user fee" tax and a doubling of the fuel tax these
operators pay - from 21 cents per gallon to 49 cents per gallon - all while
eliminating the fuel tax on commercial airlines. The Senate Finance
Committee is expected to introduce its own version of the FAA
reauthorization very soon.
If the proposal is supported, small businesses and the communities they
serve will be decimated. Businesses will fold and leave the area, costing
local workers their jobs and forcing them to look elsewhere.
The communities that currently rely on private plane owners to deliver
necessary goods and provide relief in emergency situations will lose revenue
and residents, and the state as a whole will suffer as a result.
The risks are greater than economic loss to our state; if companies such as
mine are forced to fold, the environment itself will suffer. Recycling scrap
metal saves space in waste sites by putting the metal from old machines into
The energy used by recycling an old aluminum machine is one-sixth that of
creating a new machine out of fresh materials. Grounding businesses such as
mine will impact the recycling industry as a whole and likely our larger
User fees unfairly target small business owners, while major airlines reap
another huge tax giveaway. Let's not scrap small businesses to give the
airlines an undeserved tax break.
Richard Shine is the third-generation owner of Manitoba Corp. in Buffalo. He
has been a pilot for more than 30 years and is a member of the Alliance for
Aviation Across America.
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA General Aviation Forum
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