Would You Vote For A Spaceport Tax?

One of the hot issues–as hot as issues seem to get in this part of the country–here in Dona Ana county is whether or not to raise the sales tax 0.0025% (that’s 25 cents for every $100) to help raise money for the proposed Spaceport America. The resulting sales tax would be 7.150%. Now, I am for the spaceport tax, but I can’t vote on Tuesday as I’m not actually a resident of Dona Ana county (my residence is still offically up at my parents’ house in Albuquerque.) To me, the amount of money involved is minimal, as even if I spent $10,000 subject to sales tax (and I probably do spend at leat that much each year) I only have to pay an additional $25, and that’s spread out over the year, so it’s only two or three bucks a month. A lot of people hate the idea of any tax increase and I hate to say that I think the vote will go against the increase. I realize that sales taxes are regressive, but still, paying a few extra dollars per year seems worth it to me to help build something that could help the area and probably the entire state.

Sorry, factor of 100 error. The tax increase is 0.25%, taking the overall sales tax to 7.40%. The math on the amount paid on $10,000 worth of purchases is right.

A commercial spaceport? No way would I vote for that tax. All of the various countries’ space agencies live on government funding, which to me says that space travel is not commercially viable. I wouldn’t want to get stuck paying the bills for a huge failed project.

To me, the website has more than a whiff of “boondoggle” to it. Richard Branson needs money from the citizens of New Mexico so he can take folks with tons of money on joyrides?

Why is it that sports stadiums for multi-millionare team owners can get financed by taxpayers, but something as promising, and unique, as a spaceport for commercial spacecraft can’t? If the spaceport succeeds it will bring tourism to the city in droves far exceeding even the most successful sports teams. We’re talking global tourism here. All the worlds richest people coming to your town and dropping HUGE dough to fly out of there. Sounds like it could be huge to me.


They are masters of bamboozlement. Such deals tend to involve a fair dose of rich owner schmoozing local politicians.

To be fair, sports stadiums have a decent record of attracting large numbers of fans & money. The outlook for spaceports is less certain.

Right. In addition, many townsfolk derive a benefit for a sports team, even if indirect. The very presence of the team in town makes lots of folks happy. A spaceport wouldn’t do that to the same degree.

(I’m actually against public funding of stadiums in many cases, but not as against as I would be for a spaceport.)

Until the first fatality. One of these things is going to crash, and after it does then the game is over. There are plenty of rich people in the world, but only a small percentage of them will risk their lives on a thrill ride.

A useful and workable aerospace product is a replacement for the Concorde. Again, mostly a tool for rich people but one with practical uses. Something far more useful than a thrill ride. Notice how industry isn’t rushing to bring one to market.

This entire thing reminds me of the Simpson’s episode with the monorail.

No, a company that Richard Branson owns is looking for public support for a venture that could bring jobs and new taxes to the area.

It seems to me that many people are unfamiliar with the ways that cities attract business. It is not uncommon for cities to offer tax breaks and other incentives in order to get business to locate there. If the citizens feel that the benefits outweigh the costs, then they will vote for it. If they don’t think the outcome is worthwhile, they will vote against it.

And I hear those things are awfully loud…

Hey, I’m all for a commercial space port! I think certain people vastly underestimate what degree of risks rich people will take. How many people a year are killed bungee jumping or skydiving? Does that detract from it? Most certainly not and I think that the chance to go to space will appeal to many, regardless of the risk.

I am NOT for funding private business through tax increases. Sure, it isn’t a whole lot of money. But if this tax goes through, and other businesses are approved, after 10 such businesses, taxes aren’t so small anymore. I am against stadiums being built, and in fact, I am against private ownership of sports teams (if said stadiums are built with city or state funds, and I’m a pub)

So yeah, I think it would be successful, and I would imagine less people die in one decade than in one year of other extreme vacations and outings such as skydiving and bungee jumping. Just don’t burden the taxpayers. Make the business owner build it. Give him tax breaks, sure. Just don’t build it for him.

Apparently, the answer for commercial bungee jumping is few to none. Googling produces references to several fatal accidents over the years, but they mostly seem to be exhibition jumps, or stunts for TV.

As for skydiving, this site indicates that in the US there are about 25 fatalities a year out of well over 2 million jumps (i.e. one jump in about 88,000 is fatal). Beginners under the supervision of an instructor are probably safer even than that.

Part of the appeal of both bungee jumping and skydiving is that they seem a lot more dangerous than they really are. You can appear like a death-cheating daredevil to your friends without actually having taken much risk.

I’d vote for it. I’d vote for anything that might speed the day when we have a permanent, self-sustaining human presence in outer space. (See this thread.)

That’s an illusion – if there were no such thing as professional sports, the money spent on them wouldn’t vanish into thin air – it would be spent elsewhere, and for the most part in the same regions. (Fortunately for me and my wallet, the last attempt to leech on Virginia in this respect fell through – DC has got the Nats stadium and its cost overruns, and they are welcome to it. :smiley: )

IMO, neither type of project should be paid for by the taxpayers.

Why the hell would I vote to raise taxes? It’s not like the government is doing a good job at managing their money as it is.

Maybe you should vote to get a government that is better at managing money. People always seem to forget that option.

Yeah, you’re right. I’ll get right on that.

Are you being sarcastic? If so, can you tell me what is bad about having a government that is better at managing money?

Yeah. You do that by voting to keep taxes down, thereby exercising some “tough love” discipline of the people in power.

Another thing: the Russian space agency is already offering “space tourism” deals. Last I heard, there have only been a couple of takers. It would seem that the market for this really isn’t all that big.