Helicopter Association International (HAI) President Matt Zuccaro (shown at right), called out the White House for its position on a tax law that makes it more affordable to invest in aircraft for business uses. The White House wants to extend the period over which a general aviation aircraft buyer can depreciate the purchase, thus reducing the incentive to buy.
“I find it unbelievable that continued initiatives such as this one, seemingly aimed at eliminating general aviation, are being promoted by a President who is one of the most frequent users of corporate aircraft via his travel on the peoples’ aircraft, that we pay for,” said Zuccaro. “I support his use of these aircraft to perform his duties and responsibilities. But is it too much to ask that private individuals and corporations also be allowed to realize the benefits of General Aviation for their business activities? Especially since we pay our own way by the millions of dollars we already give to the government via existing aviation-related taxes, while creating 1.2 million jobs and contributing $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually, as we serve the needs of society. This is especially true with regard to such helicopter operations as law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical transport, power line construction and repair, along with oil and gas production.”
HAI reports that current tax law allows general aviation aircraft to be depreciated over five years rather than the seven years for air carrier aircraft. Eliminating accelerated depreciation would drive potential customers away while only paying for a small fraction of the billions in domestic spending cuts that sequestration threatens to impose March 1.
The exchange between the White House and industry started when Press Secretary Jay Carney said that it would be a “better option” to make the “difficult choice” to change the depreciation plan and possibly hurt manufacturing jobs in order to chip away at the sequester and its domestic spending cuts.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) CEO Pete Bunce fired back at the White House and demanded an apology, saying, “These statements are totally outrageous and Mr. Carney should apologize. It’s completely offensive to refer to hard working Americans as ‘difficult choices.’ This Administration should stop the sound bites and political games and focus on fixing our economy.”
Echoing Bunce, Zuccaro noted, “Instead of inflicting further damage to General Aviation this administration should be working with us to create a favorable environment that will foster growth, employment and world leadership as it relates to aviation activities.”
HAI continues to fight along with other aviation associations on all fronts regarding this issue and will keep our membership updated on a regular basis.
Helicopter Association International is a professional trade association representing more than 3,000 members around the globe in more than 70 nations. HAI’s members safely operate more than 5,000 helicopters approximately 2.5 million hours each year. HAI is dedicated to the promotion of the helicopter as a safe, effective method of commerce, and to the advancement of the international helicopter community.