WASHINGTON -- Sens. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye
(D-Hawaii) introduced a bill to bring back the flat 10% domestic
ticket tax on flights within their states and between their states
and the continental U.S.
Murkowski and Inouye said the new ticket fee for each domestic
flight segment is burdensome to their states, where there are few
travel options other than by airplane. Inouye said, "Roads,
bridges, trains and buses do not operate between the islands" in
Hawaii. "This geographic difference causes any tax imposed on the
cost of flying, our citizens' only means of getting from one island
to another, to fall disproportionately on our citizens."
Murkowski's spokesman, Charles Kleeschulte, said, "In many cases
in Alaska, you would end up [paying for] three or four flight
segments just to get from place to place." By 2002, Kleeschulte
said, passengers will have to pay $3 per segment, which could add
up to $18 or more for some tickets.
The senators are expected to press for their bill (S. 1424) next
Under a law that took effect Oct. 1, the domestic ticket tax
changed from a flat 10% of the fare to 9% plus a $1 fee per flight
segment. On next Oct. 1, the percentage tax will start dropping
gradually to 7.5%, but the flight-segment fee will start increasing
incrementally to $3.
Flights within Hawaii and Alaska are taxed in this fashion.
Flights between the continental U.S. and Alaska or Hawaii are taxed
at the domestic rate in effect at the time for the domestic portion
of the flight plus a $6 one-way or $12 roundtrip fee for the
The legislation would keep the $6 or $12 international fee but
revert to a flat 10% for the domestic portion.