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Airline workers protest Senate tax bill

July 9, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Several hundred airline workers from around the country rallied Wednesday against a Senate proposal to raise airline ticket taxes.

A group of pilots, mechanics and attendants from the nation’s seven largest airlines hoisted protest signs and chanted, ``Ax the Tax″ in an effort to influence upcoming negotiations between House and Senate leaders on a final tax bill.

``We’re here for a common reason, to protect our industry and our jobs,″ Robin Rosser, a ground mechanic for Continental Airlines in Newark, N.J., told a rally at the steps of the Capitol.

Both the House and Senate tax bills raise roughly $34 billion over five years by extending and modifying a package of existing airline ticket taxes, which are set to expire at the end of September. The two bills differ in significant ways.

The major airlines oppose the Senate tax bill, arguing it would unfairly saddle them with a new tax on domestic portions of international flights, a tax not assessed on foreign-based airlines.

They also oppose the Senate bill’s proposal to extend the existing 10 percent tax on domestic airline tickets, saying it forces some passengers to subsidize others.

The group backs a different airline ticket tax formula in the House tax bill, which levies a tax more on the use of the nation’s airports instead the cost of an airline ticket. It also lacks the tax on domestic legs of international flights.

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