Las Cruces one step closer to spaceport tax

The Las Cruces City Council decided earlier this week to draft a resolution that calls for a voter referendum next spring on a tax that would help pay for the development of Spaceport America, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. The resolution, which would have to be approved by the council in January, would call for a special election in early April for a quarter-cent sales tax, the proceeds for which would go to helping pay for the spaceport. Doña Ana County, where Las Cruces is located, is also planning a similar resolution, and two other counties in southern New Mexico, Otero and Sierra, are expected to follow suit. The taxes would cover the local contribution to the costs of the spaceport, in addition to funds approved by the state legislature earlier this year and possible federal funding.

The article indicated that while there is support in general for the spaceport, the tax could face some opposition from residents who want more information about the spaceport before voting for a tax increase. One person attending the city council meeting noted that an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the spaceport has yet to be released, as well as additional technical and financial details about the spaceport. A Doña Ana county commissioner said that passage of the tax in Las Cruces and the rest of the county is crucial to getting similar tax resolutions passed in the other two counties, and to the spaceport in general. “If we don’t do this, the outlook for the spaceport is extremely grim.”

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