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The Jet Business
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Photo courtesy of the White HouseSo I'm working from home yesterday and the television is on for background noise. All of a sudden, CBS News does the "special report" music and anchor Scott Pelley comes on to tell me that President Barack Obama was about to come on to do a speech and hold a press conference.The president comes on and I'm vaguely listening, when I hear "corporate jets." I stop typing and turn up the volume just in time to hear what can only be described as a rant against tax breaks for corporate jets. I started tweeting his remarks, and found that he used the term "corporate jets" in his speech four times.And it didn't get any better during the press conference part of the program, as he continued to focus on the "tax breaks for corporate jets" sound bite, using it another six times, according to the National Journal. The Washington Post reports that cutting the depreciation tax loophole for corporate jets would bring in $3 billion. But it's a tiny sum when compared to cutting between $2 trillion (with a T) and $4 trillion from the deficit.A quick Google search of the word "corporate jets" came up with more than 5,000 stories with that term in the past 24 hours. And you can read the Aviation Week story here. The reaction from the business aviation community was swift. I could literally hear the drafts being typed from my couch here in Baltimore. "We at AOPA are very disappointed in President Obama's statements today concerning raising taxes on private aircraft," said Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.Next up was the Alliance for Aviation Across America. “We were deeply disappointed by the President’s comments today, which not only mischaracterized general aviation and its importance for our economy, but discussed an increased tax burden for general aviation operators.""President Obama has repeatedly degraded the value of general aviation to our nation's economy. This time, he does so a day after appearing at an American aircraft manufacturing facility to promote job growth," stated James K. Coyne, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association.Then the National Business Aviation Association President and CEO Ed Bolen weighed in. "The president has inexplicably chosen to vilify and mischaracterize business aviation – an industry that is critical for citizens, companies and communities across the U.S., and one that can play a central role in the economic recovery he says he wants to promote." And finally, a joint statement by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: During the severe economic downturn in 2008, ill-informed criticism of corporate jets and business aviation exacerbated the challenges facing our industry, which led to depressed new aircraft sales and jeopardized very good, high-paying jobs throughout the United States. More than 20,000 highly skilled IAM members were laid off in this industry.As our industry looks to begin a recovery and the workforce returns to their high-skilled jobs, we are very concerned that the rhetoric coming from some in your Administration will lead to similar economic difficulties.And those economic difficulties were pointed out in articles in the New York Post and the American Spectator. Both publications wrote about how the end of tax breaks for yachts effectively destroyed the U.S. boat building industry, hinting at a similar fate for corporate jet manufacturing.In case you missed yesterday's speech and press conference, here it is, courtesy of the Associated Press.
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