Dear Mr. President –
I write to you today as a concerned citizen. I have long been one of the minority of citizens in this country that has supported you and your administration in both initiatives that I agreed with and those that I strongly disagreed with because through it all I have felt that you are at your core an honest and ethical man. I have always believed that your decisions result from heartfelt beliefs rather than from the crass political expediency practiced by other career politicians.
Mr. President, I am a citizen that plays by the rules (well, I speed on the highways now and then, truth be told). I am in the demographic that pays far more in Federal and State taxes than 90% of the rest of the country. Yes, I complain about it, but I pay what I consider to be far in excess of my fair share regardless. I don’t shelter money, nor do I cheat on my tax returns.
I write to you today because of your administration’s proposed ATC usage fees and the unconscionably drastic increase in fuel taxes. These additional costs to Private pilots will devastate an entire industry, and will be hugely detrimental to the type of aviation that many of us find to be one of the most rewarding and globally unique examples of our fundamental rights as free citizens. This proposed legislation is nothing more than a hand-out to the struggling airline industry, an industry that has created its own problems and now expects yet another bail-out on the backs of productive, tax paying citizens such as myself and my flying peers. Throughout my entire professional life, I have had one simple material goal: earn enough money to allow me to satisfy my lifelong passion for aviation by owning and flying my own airplane. Your proposed tax increase on fuel and the addition of new user fees for services already bought and paid for with existing taxes will at a minimum create an unnecessary safety risk as pilots avoid using ATC services and will at worse drive pilots like myself completely out of aviation.
My President, I urge you to find other solutions to whatever funding problems the airlines and the FAA believe that they have. It is unfair to further burden a class of aircraft and pilot that are not the primary users of the ATC system. It is extremely unfair to make statements such as “the cost of this system should be borne solely by those using it,” particularly when we already pay a significant per-gallon fuel tax. That is a ridiculous and disingenuous statement. There are a tremendous number of government handout programs that I will never use, but I pay for them every day. Beyond that, any person that has ever flown as a passenger on an airline has benefited from the ATC system and should also contribute to the system that makes that possible.
I cannot express strongly enough the negative effect your proposed user fees and vastly increased fuel tax would have on people like me that consider aviation to be our lifelong passion. We work, we contribute, and we ask for only one thing in return: do not kill our dreams to benefit an industry that needs to learn how to fend for itself.
David R. Gamble, RV-6 N466PG