Study: Airlines receive $1B in tax breaks from states annually

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U.S. airlines receive about $1 billion per year in tax breaks from state and local governments, according to a study that was released on Monday.

The study, conducted by the UNITE HERE International Union, found that airlines received breaks on 12 billion gallons of fuel in 2013.

The union's airline tax policy group, 12Billion.org, said the study showed that U.S. carriers at not as overtaxed as they sometimes argue to members of Congress.

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"Airlines spend a lot of political capital talking about how overtaxed the U.S. airline travel industry is," the group said. "Last winter, airline lobbyists passed out vomit bags decrying air taxes to travelers at D.C. airports, and in the last month alone successfully pushed the oddly-named Transparent Airfare Act through the U.S. House and airlines filed suit against the Transportation Security Administration over new security fees on passenger tickets."    

The states that offered the highest tax breaks to U.S. airlines was California, which provided $384 million worth of credits for 2.26 billion gallons of gas, according to the report.

The second highest state was Washington, which offered $123 million worth of credits on 482 million gallons. New York came in third, with $115.3 million worth of credits on 832 million gallons of gas.

The group that lobbies for airlines in Washington disputes the labor union's findings, arguing that extra taxes force U.S. carriers to have to charge more for flights.

"Airlines help create 11 million jobs and $1.5 trillion in economic activity, and our employees — and the largest labor unions — know that when the airline industry is financially healthy, they (and our customers) win because we can invest in benefits, training, planes and other customer amenities," Airlines for America said in a statement that was provided to The Hill.

"No one wins when the industry, our customers and our employees are forced to shoulder higher taxes," the airline group continued. "Today, our customers pay more than $60 in taxes on a typical $300 roundtrip ticket."