The following statement by Mayor Carl Brewer of Wichita was issued in response to President Obama’s comments today regarding possible new tax burdens on general aviation. Mayor Brewer is also president of the League of Kansas Municipalities and serves on the board of the National League of Cities. Wichita was cited by the Brookings Institute last year as the national leader in export growth from 2003-2008, based largely on aviation manufacturing exports:
Mayor Brewer’s statement
I am deeply concerned about the President’s comments about general aviation today. Particularly during a time when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, we cannot afford additional tax burdens and unnecessary mischaracterizations about the general aviation industry, which drives thousands of jobs, over $7 billion in economic impact here in Kansas alone, and over $1.2 billion in job payroll nationally. General aviation is a crucially important part of our national economy and an economic engine for thousands of communities across the nation, many of which would lose local manufacturing jobs or local business growth if faced with additional tax burdens.
We have been supportive of the President’s goal of doubling exports in the next five years. Wichita led the nation in export growth from 2003-2008, based largely on aviation manufacturing. The President needs to understand the vital role of aviation manufacturing in meeting the goal of doubling exports, here in Kansas and across the nation. Undercutting the industry with additional tax burdens at this critical time in our economic recovery is not sound strategy.
Just over two years ago, I extended an invitation for President Obama to come out to Wichita to witness firsthand the value of general aviation to the state of Kansas and our nation as a whole. I reiterated that invitation when U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited our community last month, and I issue it again today. I urge the Administration and Congress to protect this vitally important industry and all the hard-working jobs that depend on it.