“Everyone agrees on the need to find meaningful ways to reduce the nation’s debt, and to do so without harming the nation’s economy. As our country pursues this critical policy objective, it is important to ensure that the proposals we consider are based on reality rather than rhetoric. Unfortunately, in the course of the debate over the debt, the White House has recently focused on misleading statements related to depreciation schedules for business aircraft.”
Bolen pointed to the following realities regarding general aviation and depreciation:
- General aviation is a critical engine in America’s economy, and a vital link in the nation’s transportation network. The industry employs 1.2 million workers and generates $150 billion in economic activity.
- The Great Recession devastated the general aviation industry, and it is not expected to recover to pre-recession levels for several years.
- The depreciation schedule for general aviation aircraft is not a “loophole.” In fact, the depreciation schedule was established decades ago by the Treasury Department and adopted by Congress in 1986. The schedule works exactly as policymakers intended with no individual or company able to depreciate more for a general aviation aircraft than any other capital asset.
- Changes to the depreciation schedule for general aviation aircraft would not yield meaningful progress toward reducing the national debt.
- Any changes to such a well-established depreciation schedule, effectively established by both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, should be the result of comprehensive analysis and debate—not part of a backroom bargain made in search of political talking points.
“The bottom line,” Bolen concluded, “Is that the White House’s rhetoric about general aviation depreciation ignores established facts and long-standing tax policies related to business airplane ownership and use, does almost nothing to seriously address the nation’s debt and has the potential to harm a great American industry in the process.”