Surprise! Somehow even the private-jet industry that caters exclusively to the ultra-wealthy managed to line up a bailout in the latest coronavirus response bill. The bill, signed into law this weekend, clears the runway for private jet companies to access the pool of $25 billion in loan guarantees carved out for the aviation industry, and also rewards them with exemptions from Federal Excise Taxes and jet fuel taxes among other giveaways. Government watchdog group Accountable.US noted many ways that money could be better spent as millions of Americans entered the ranks of the unemployed.
“Thanks to Trump’s Senate allies, there’s plenty of taxpayer money for industries catering to his wealthy friends in the latest stimulus bill. But a platinum parachute for the private-jet industry really takes the cake,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Meanwhile, struggling Americans find themselves with a one-time check that won’t even cover rent or basic expenses.”
There were glaring omissions in the stimulus bill for workers, like no suspension of payments on federal Perkins student loans, no jobless benefits for gig workers, and no protections against negative credit reporting. These kinds of worker-centered measures would go much further in keeping the economy afloat than allowing a small handful of private jet owners to fly high without paying taxes.
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Under the bill, private-jet charter companies and jet-card companies will receive several types of help from the federal government. First, private-jet companies will no longer have to pay a 7.5% tax. The tax, known as Federal Excise Tax, is charged to customers of private-jet charters and jet-card users. The tax won’t be charged for the rest of the year. Jet companies also won’t have to pay any fuel taxes.
In addition, private-jet companies will be eligible to receive funding from the $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees available to the aviation industry. They are also included in the $25 billion in grant payments for the continuation of wage payments to workers. Private-jet airports and smaller airports will also receive more than $100 million in federal funding under the bill.