MAPPS Signs Coalition Letter Opposing General Aviation Tax for Deficit Reduction

Reston, Virginia, August 18, 2011 – MAPPS, the national association of private sector geospatial firms, has joined a coalition of organizations in a letter opposing the inclusion of any new aviation taxes as part of deficit reduction measure to be considered by Congress.

It has been rumored that the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are considering a "user fee" on all takeoffs and landings of general aviation aircraft – a move that would have a negative affect on the private aerial photography and geospatial profession.

"This proposed ‘user fee’ is misleading, it is a direct tax on general aviation to reduce the deficit," said John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director. "A ‘user fee’ would provide revenues to FAA for system operation, maintenance and improvement. However, this proposal would be a ‘revenue-raiser’ set on reducing the national debt. This would be a direct tax that adds a financial burden on general aviation, including small businesses conducting aerial photography."

"A tax of this nature would be detrimental not only to general aviation in general but especially harmful to the geospatial profession and the clients and public it serves," Palatiello said.  "For example, in a 12-mile road construction project, the aerial photography cost is about $6,000.  The surveying and mapping cost is about $124,000, the engineering design service is $4.2 million and the total construction cost is $49 million.  While the aerial photography is just 0.011% of the total project cost, such services have a tremendous downstream economic impact.  Putting a tax on general aviation, such as a take-off and landing fee, would have negative direct affect on aerial survey businesses and add unnecessary downstream costs at a time when our economy can ill-afford it."

The LETTER, submitted by the Americans for Tax Reform, included 18 non-profit trade associations and advocacy groups.
Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, mobile mapping, LIDAR, building information models (BIM), 3D mapping, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. Independent Consultant Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession. MAPPS provides its 180+ member firms opportunities for networking and developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image enhancement. For more information on MAPPS, please visit