The State of the Union for GA

January 28, 2010 by Craig Fuller

I want to share a few thoughts with you about President Obama’s State of the Union Speech.
Over the past few decades, I have seen, studied, and even helped to craft State of the Union speeches.  These speeches take dozens of people, from all parts of an administration, more than a month to put together.

They are highly anticipated, given with much fanfare, and followed up with a massive communications effort.  And, then, they are pretty much forgotten.

Even if it isn’t remembered for long, last night’s speech is important because so much effort has gone into creating it. It tells us not only what the President thinks about the State of Our Union, but where he hopes to lead the country over the next year.

I anticipated an eloquent speech from a gifted communicator, and the President did not disappoint.
It was clear that the President wants to re-establish his connection with the working men and women in America. He wants to create jobs–including jobs building and improving our transportation infrastructure. We will work to make sure our vital aviation network is included in those efforts. 

The President also wants to help small- and medium- businesses. That is admirable. But I have to wonder how that will work with some of the budget ideas the Administration has set out.

For the aviation community, the true test will be in the details of the Federal Budget Proposal we expect to see on Monday. In the past, the Obama Administration has said it wants to impose billions in user fees to help fund the aviation system.

But why would the Administration pledge to support small- and medium-size companies, then turn around and burden those same companies with new costs just because they use general aviation?  

We can only hope that policies intended to create jobs and nurture small- and medium-size companies, will also support general aviation, not penalize it. We know that general aviation can create jobs and help companies grow. We have worked diligently to make sure that our elected leaders know that, too.

For now, we must wait and see how the Administration’s good intentions translate into concrete actions and hard numbers.

More on all of this on Monday when the budget documents are released….until then, stay engaged!

  • Larry Petro

    Dear Mr. Fuller,

    Thank you for your tempered and thoughtful commentary on the President’s State of the Union Speech.

    My particular concern is the President’s announced intention to freeze discretionary spending, from which the Transportation Department and the FAA are funded. I trust that you and AOPA will marshal support for the appropriate level of funding for the FAA and that you will fight any attempt by the Administration to unfairly transfer the FAA’s cost to General Aviation.

    Best regards,
    Larry Petro

  • GatorRob

    State of the Union for pilot training funding: Due to the lack of available loans/funds for commercial aviation jobs, I am attempting something new. Yes I am asking for can go to my website and help. I am leaning on the power of the masses to help..if 39,000 people each donate a dollar, I could go to a flight academy. The new 1500 hour requirement for even co-pilots will kill the aviation community. So if you can help by forwarding the site or donating, thanks so much.