Beware the Backdoor Tax on Passengers

The Washington media loves shiny objects. Whether it’s the latest political tweetstorm, or the big, defining legislative fights like health care and tax reform, the press will pounce and keep its claws in the story. Smart politicians and Washington insiders are wise to this tactic, and the sharpest among them will often seize the opportunity to insert controversial provisions in legislation that would otherwise fail to pass muster in the arena of public opinion.

It should therefore come as little surprise that Maine’s senior senator, Susan Collins, recently exercised her power as an appropriator to advance what amounts to a tax hike: one that will, if enacted, raise the cost of flying for millions of travelers in every corner of the country. The proposed language would nearly double the maximum federal Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) – one of the many government mandated taxes you pay when you purchase a plane ticket – from $4.50 to $8.50.

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