Senator Roberts Hosts Town Hall Meeting At Bombardier

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Senator Pat Roberts was in Wichita Tuesday, taking on President Barack Obama's past comments calling for a tax increase on companies that buy private jets.

Roberts held a town hall meeting after touring the production lines where Learjets are assembled. One employee asked the Republican senator what can be done to combat the negative image in the media of corporate aviation.

"Even the President of the United States talking about fat-cat corporate jets. I think he said it three times in two paragraphs. And you'd think it was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie flying all over the world and that's it," said Roberts.

Roberts says 85 percent of those flying business jets aren't CEOs but other company employees. He says the phrase "corporate jets" is now regularly used in disparaging ways.

"Right now, public relations-wise, there are people using that term as a pejorative to advance their tax ideas quite frankly to redistribute income," said Roberts. "When you pick on one industry then you're picking and choosing. And when you're picking and choosing and you use words that are very critical. I wish the president hadn't done it."

Obama's 2011 proposal would scale back a tax break enjoyed by the private jet owners but not commercial airlines. Industry experts say a tax increase probably wouldn't be the deciding factor in whether a corporation buys an airplane, but it could affect when they buy and how much they are willing to spend.

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