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Published On: Thu, Jun 16th, 2016

New York, New Jersey officials moved to end tax breaks for jet fuel taxation

As airlines are expected to make record profits in 2016, the wealth that flows into the region through these airports has bypassed the high poverty neighborhoods surrounding the airports, where most subcontracted airport workers reside, according to a recent study by the Women of Color Policy Network.

EVA Air's Hello Kitty-themed Boeing 777 arrived at Los Angeles International this week. photo EVA Air

EVA Air’s Hello Kitty-themed Boeing 777 arrived at Los Angeles International this week. photo EVA Air

“I have worked at the airport as a wheelchair agent for about one year and I am always struggling to get through the end of the month,” said Hemchand Harnarine who works for subcontractor PrimeFlight at JFK Terminal 5. “The cost of living is always increasing and my low pay makes it hard to pay my bills.”

The low-road subcontracting system that airlines have increasingly turned to has pushed wages down for contracted workers as airlines find more and more ways to increase profits. Meanwhile tax loopholes like New York and New Jersey’s put more of the cost of maintaining and renovating the airports back on the public rather than on the airlines who should be paying their fair share of the cost.

The new jet fuel tax bill would introduce tens of millions of dollars into the New York and New Jersey tax system. SEIU 32BJ supports legislation closing a loophole that enables airlines to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in taxes on jet fuel, and raising the excise tax rate to align with New York’s at 6.8 cents per gallon.

With 155,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 70,000 in New York City, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.

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