Higher tax on airline passengers is probably dead _ again

Thursday, February 16th 2006, 2:56 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A tax increase on air travel probably will not pass this year, and an influential lawmaker said Thursday he is angry about the Bush administration's second attempt in two years to raise it.

The Transportation Security Administration again asked Congress to double the security tax paid by airline passengers to $5 for a one-way nonstop ticket.

It is the largest single fee increase proposed by the administration for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, and would bring in about $1.4 billion.

Rep. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security spending, said Congress will not pass the tax increase.

Lawmakers will have to find that $1.4 billion elsewhere, said Rogers, R-Ky.

``We've got to find a way out of the mess you made,'' Rogers told TSA chief Kip Hawley during a subcommittee hearing. ``I don't like to do it.''

Hawley said it is fair to have airline passengers pay for airline security.

``The money has to come from somewhere,'' Hawley said.

But Rogers said budgeting for a tax increase that is destined to be rejected is what ``tees me off.''

``Next time you come up here and propose a tax you can't pass, dumping the problem in the lap of Congress, I'm going to make you pay the price,'' he said.