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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grover Norquist: 'Deeply troubled' by new airline fee, wants TSA killed -- By Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner

Photo - Americans for Tax Reform wants TSA privatized. Instead, the agency is slated to receive more in user fees in the just-announced House-Senate budget compromise. (AP Photo)The influential Americans for Tax Reform has come out strongly against the new airline security fee included in the House-Senate budget compromise, demanding instead that the TSA be farmed out to a private company, saving some of the $8 billion taxpayers spend to protect airports.

“We are deeply troubled by both the increase in the TSA user fee and the temporary relaxing of the spending caps for 2014 and 2015,” said the group headed by Grover Norquist.

However, the ATR is pleased with the deal's long-term spending cuts and government-pension tightening.

TSA Ticket Fee
By far, the worst element of BBA13 is the per-ticket airline fee hike that goes to the Transportation Security Agency (TSA.) The TSA is a bloated, unionized government agency which should be privatized. The TSA should not receive a special portion of money from every airplane ticket sold.
ATR supports repealing the entire TSA ticket fee permanently, and replacing it with permanent spending cuts elsewhere. ATR supports fully privatizing the TSA, which currently costs taxpayers $8 billion per year.
BBA13, however, structures the TSA ticket fee not as a tax, but as an offsetting receipt to pay for TSA "services." In so doing, this fee straddles the line between a tax increase and a user fee without technically crossing into tax hike territory — nevertheless, it should be replaced with spending cuts. The provision is scored by CBO as a spending cut in the form of an offsetting receipt and has been since TSA was first created by Congress.
This is a very, very bad way to write legislation. CBO's scoring methodology here is gimmicky, and it does not hold up to strict scrutiny as a serious policy initiative.
ATR is strongly opposed to this provision of BBA13, and urges Congress to replace it with permanent spending cuts elsewhere.
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