Believe it or not, President Obama wants to increase, immediately, the current airport security tax from $2.50 per segment (capped at $5 each way) to a flat $5 per one-way ticket. By 2017, he wants to ramp the tax to $7.50 per one-way ticket or $15 per round trip.
This means everyone who flies on a non-stop or direct flight will be faced with a 100 percent increase in the security tax. Later all travelers will face incremental increases in this tax over the next five years resulting in another 50 percent increase.
The administration’s ill-conceived transportation security taxes are hitting every traveler in the country and hitting the airlines that are the driving force of economic development — creating jobs not only from direct hiring, but from associated businesses and regional corporate development. If someone thinks raising the costs to fly is the way to create jobs, they need their heads examined. If they think that giving more money to TSA is going to endear them to the American public they are even crazier.
Domestic airline travel has been shrinking recently and the airlines have reduced capacity since 2007 by more than 10 percent to meet falling demand. Overseas travel has taken a massive hit with last year’s Department of Commerce numbers showing a drop in travel to Europe of 7 percent, to South America a 17 percent drop, to Asia an 8 percent drop and to Central America an 11 percent drop.
Making matters worse, the President plans to earmark these funds for TSA, an agency that is out of control and has never been properly controlled by Congress which has oversight responsibility.
Even one of the founders of TSA, Rep. John Mica (R-Fl.) has turned on the bloated agency.
TSA is a bureaucratic nightmare, with over 60,000 employees and top heavy with supervisory and administrative staff. At TSA headquarters, where 30 percent of employees are supervisors, the average salary is over $105,000. Thirteen percent of field employees are supervisors. This is a massive bureaucracy that cannot effectively ensure the safety of U.S. transportation systems, and something must be done to improve the agency’s performance.
These new airline taxes and fees that will immediately double the amount most passengers pay to fund the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and later triple that tax are totally misconceived and will enlarge one of the most disturbing organizations in the country and one of the most secret and least audited and controlled.
Here is the exact wording from The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. Read them and weep. Better yet, let your congressman or congresswoman know that you think these kinds of taxes are misdirected.
From page 22:
The Administration proposes both to raise the fee and change the manner in which it is collected. …
• Replace the current “per-enplanement” fee structure with a “per one-way trip” fee structure so that passengers pay the fee only one time when traveling to their destination.
• Remove the current statutory fee limit and replace it with a statutory fee minimum of $5.00, with annual incremental increases of 50 cents from 2013 to 2017, resulting in a fee of $7.50 in 2017 and thereafter.
• Allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to adjust the fee (to an amount equal to or greater than the new statutory fee minimum) through regulation when necessary.
• Set aside a specific amount of fee revenue to be returned to the General Fund for deficit reduction over 10 years.
The proposed fee would collect an estimated $8.8 billion in additional fee revenue over five years, and $24.9 billion over 10 years. The Administration’s proposal would direct $15 billion to be deposited into the General Fund for debt reduction, with any additional revenues
in excess of this amount being applied as offsets to TSA’s discretionary appropriations.
Someone once said, “If you aim taxes at the wealthy, you end up hitting the middle class right in the pocketbook.” (Or, maybe I just made that up.) But, President Obama’s new flurry of transportation taxes and fees that are supposed to only hit Americans making $200,000 and more seem to be whacking directly at the middle class without first passing through the “rich.”
These security taxes and fees are only the beginning of the President’s assault on the air transport sector of the economy, one of the most vital to the production of jobs anywhere across our fruited plains. I will cover the other tax and fee increases embedded in the presidents proposal in future columns.
Do you think it is a good idea to double the amount of money passengers have to pay TSA as a way to balance the budget? Or, do you think taking a look at how TSA is spending our money right now might be a better idea?