Corporate Jet Loopholeby Senator Jerry Moran
Posted on 2013-02-28
MORAN. Madam President, as we all know, our country faces
tremendous fiscal challenges. We expect our President, our leaders, and
those of us in Congress to engage in a meaningful and honest discussion
about debt, deficits, and the direction of our Nation. Unfortunately, I
think what Americans--certainly Kansans--are hearing from the White
House and from some prominent Democrats is a relentless focus on
political gimmicks to solve our problems.
An example of one of those is the so-called corporate jet loophole. We are focused on that instead of a serious plan to address the looming sequestration cuts that threaten to harm our economy. The President's fixation on corporate jets stands in direct contrast with his supposed desire to help the aviation industry and create jobs. Ending the accelerated depreciation schedule for general aviation aircraft will send hundreds if not thousands of hard-working Kansans straight to the unemployment line. My State is blessed with a significant number of people who work in the aviation industry.
This rhetoric is dangerous. It is certainly hypocritical. The 5-year depreciation schedule has been law for nearly a quarter of a century, and it was not created for the benefit of the ``rich'' or ``wealthy'' but was created for the benefit of the 1.2 million Americans who make a living building and servicing these airplanes. Accelerated depreciation helps spur manufacturing and creates jobs.
I am disappointed that the President continues his endless campaign to score political points rather than to work toward a real solution to solve our Nation's fiscal challenges. When 23 million Americans are looking for work, our government's first priority should be to create an environment where business can grow and hire additional workers. Increasing taxes on corporate jets and other general aviation aircraft sales will only further stifle economic recovery and result in additional job losses.
According to our Joint Committee on Taxation, closing the ``loophole,'' [[Page S992]] would only generate $3 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, less than the government borrows on a single day. Kansans in particular, along with the rest of rural America, would be negatively impacted by any change in the depreciation schedules for noncommercial aircraft. Farmers use general aviation aircraft to dust their crops, and rural small business owners rely on these planes to connect their businesses with the rest of the world. It makes no sense for a commercial jumbo jet liner to be depreciated on the same schedule as a farmer's air tractor.
This distinction between general and commercial aircraft is neither a loophole nor unique, as the 5-year depreciation schedule is applicable to many other depreciable transportation assets, such as cars and trucks. If the President wants Congress to review the depreciation periods associated with certain assets, then why single out one specific industry instead of taking a comprehensive approach? Because attacking corporate jets is apparently a nice political sound bite. But political sound bites don't solve our problems.
Because of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on January 1 of this year, President Obama received $600 billion in tax hikes to help fund his vision for government expansion. Yet less than 2 months later he is back on the campaign stump asking American taxpayers for more.
While the amount of revenue our government currently brings in is near historical averages, spending remains well above those historical norms and is projected to escalate dramatically in the years ahead. It is long past time to address the real problem with meaningful spending reductions, and every moment spent talking about corporate jet loopholes is a wasted moment.
Americans expect leadership from their elected officials here in Washington, DC. If we fail to take action now and leave it for a future President and a future Congress to solve, we will reduce the opportunities of the next generation to experience the country we know and love, and we will diminish the chance that every American has the chance to pursue the American dream.
Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.