Aviation Industry Holds Rally For Corporate Jets To Counter Negative Publicity
WASHINGTON -- The corporate jet industry and the people who love it have it tough these days, with Democrats pushing to roll back tax breaks for people who are lucky enough to own the luxury transportation.
To counter some of this negative publicity, the aviation industry is rallying together. In Iowa.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) held a rally at the Rockwell Collins Flight Operations Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, attended by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Iowa Reps. Tom Latham (R), Leonard Boswell (D), Steve King (R) and Bruce Braley (D).
None of the lawmakers immediately returned a request for comment.
GAMA spokeswoman Katie Pribyl told the Associated Press that the rally would be a reminder of the jobs created by the aviation industry in Iowa, despite President Obama's "negative rhetoric."
During the debt ceiling debate, Obama repeatedly cited tax breaks for corporate jet owners as an area where revenue could be raised to lower the deficit without hurting middle-class families. Cutting those special deductions would give the Treasury Department $3 billion over 10 years.
“It would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we're not willing to come to the table and get a deal done,” Obama said during a White House news conference in June.
At the rally on Wednesday, GAMA President Pete Bunce told workers to speak out in defense of their jobs, according to the Associated Press. He said Obama needs to know that "if you go after our customers, you go after every one of us."
“In the current economic environment, it is important that we capitalize on the things that are working. Fortunately, you don't have to look any further than general aviation to find the perfect example,” said Clay Jones, the chairman, president and CEO of Rockwell Collins, a provider of aviation and information technology systems. “General aviation is one of the few manufacturing industries that provides a trade surplus for the United States and it supports more than 1.2 million jobs across the country. In Iowa alone, GA contributes $1.4 billion to the economy annually."
A GAMA press release said that "[h]undreds of workers, state and local officials and aviation enthusiasts" attended the event.
According to the industry association, generation aviation manufacturers employ more than 2,000 Iowans and the field contributes more than $1.4 billion to the state's economy annually.