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POLITICS: PennAve

House votes to let airlines advertise fares without taxes included

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Politics,Congress,Transportation,Susan Ferrechio,Taxes,House of Representatives,PennAve,Air Travel

The House this afternoon quickly approved a measure to allow airlines to advertise the base ticket fare to consumers while excluding the government fees and taxes that can add as much as 20 percent to the cost.

The measure, backed by both parties, passed after eleven minutes of debate and no objections. There wasn’t even an objection to passing it without a roll call vote.

The legislation would change the way airlines can advertise prices.

Currently, they must show the entire fare, including taxes and governent fees, and then list a breakdown of the cost separately. Federal regulators made this a requirement in 2012 in a move they said was aimed at increasing transparency for consumers.

But House sponsor Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said current law hinders transparency by concealing the government fees and taxes that hike prices.

The move comes as the government has increasingly relied on adding fees and taxes to airline passengers in order to fund other parts of the government.

Last week, the government hiked a Transportation Security Administration fee to $5.60, more than doubling it for nonstop flights.

The hike was approved last December to help offset the cost of reversing unpopular budget cuts without increasing the deficit.

The House bill has fans and critics.

The National Taxpayers Union said the move would give flyers, “the right to know just how much of their airfare is going straight to the Treasury.”

The NTU said airline tickets are subjected to 17 types of government fees and taxes.

But opponents say the legislation will allow airlines to use “bait and switch” tactics to lure consumers into buying an airline seat, only to learn later in the transaction that the prices is actually higher.

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Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

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