Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks off his plane at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 17, 2016. 
Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Republican tax plan extends tax break to private jet owners


When Congress takes up a massive tax bill, it’s inevitable that lawmakers are going to tuck some pretty controversial measures into the package. The House Republican version, for example, included “a lucrative break for golf-course owners,” even as it raised taxes on some middle-class families.

It’s the kind of policy Donald Trump is likely to appreciate.

Business Insider today highlights a similar piece of the Senate Republicans’ plan.

One of those exemptions in the Senate version of the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), would give a break to owners of private jets.

Currently, the federal government imposes an excise tax on the use of private planes for every flight an aircraft makes. Under the Republican tax legislation, costs for maintenance and other support activities for the planes would be exempt from the excise tax.

The article added that, according to an analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation, the price tag on this tax break is quite modest – less than $50 million in tax revenue over 10 years – probably in part because so few Americans can take advantage of the benefit.

For proponents of the Republican tax plan, this may seem like a defense: in a trillion-dollar package, the argument goes, a policy that costs less than $50 million isn’t worth much of a fuss.

But isn’t that backwards? If it’s “only” $50 million over 10 years, why include it at all?

In other words, if Republicans are already under fire for pushing a series of unpopular tax cuts that reward the wealthy and punish the middle class, and they’re already facing pushback for provisions such as the break for golf-course owners, why make it worse with controversial elements like this one for owners of private jets?

Why give critics of the GOP plan – folks like me – one more reason to explain what a regressive mess the Republican legislation is?