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Published on : Friday, November 22, 2013
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines brought together a wide-ranging aviation industry coalition today to oppose increasing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) passenger security tax and urged Congress not to close a budget deal on the backs of airline passengers and shippers who are already overtaxed.
In a joint letter to House and Senate Budget Committee Chairmen Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the coalition urged negotiators to reject any increase in the TSA passenger security tax. Joining A4A in this call to action are the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Consumer Travel Alliance, Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA).
“Raising taxes is lose-lose for airlines, passengers, jobs and our overall economy – it’s inappropriate for Congress to use airline passengers as an ATM when it needs more money,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Doubling the TSA passenger security tax would cost passengers more than $730 million annually, placing a huge additional tax on the traveling public, with no direct benefit to those who pay it.”
As the coalition letter notes, doubling the TSA passenger security tax from $2.50 to $5 won’t improve airport security, but instead will negatively impact customers by driving up the cost of air travel. Congress should instead focus on improving the efficiency of TSA, which collected $2.3 billion in security taxes from airlines and their customers last year, more than double the amount collected in 2002.
Calio said rather than increasing taxes on passengers, TSA can further implement proven, risk-based screening programs like TSA Pre✓™ for passengers and the Known Crewmember program for pilots and flight attendants. Congress has increased TSA’s budget by 18 percent from 2007 to 2012, yet the number of people screened by TSA dropped 11 percent during the same time period.
“There is no question TSA is adequately funded to fulfill its commitment to the security of the traveling public,” Calio said. “This is strictly a revenue raiser to close a budget deal and it should not be done on the backs of airlines and their customers who are already paying much more than their fair share.”
Calio noted that aviation taxes totaled $19 billion last year, and on a typical $300 domestic roundtrip ticket, more than $61 goes to federal taxes. A4A has launched the ‘Stop Air Tax Now’ campaign, where all stakeholders are encouraged to visit the stopairtaxnow.com site and send a letter to the White House and Congress urging them to reject tax increases on air travel.