Group will promote approval of spaceport tax


A number of local government, community and business leaders have formed a group that will push for voter approval in Doña Ana County of a gross receipts tax increase to help fund Spaceport America.

The group, called People for Aerospace, launched its Web site today. It can be found at

The group has three co-chairs: Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley; Steinborn, Inc. CEO and partner John Hummer; and Delano Lewis, a former U.S. ambassador to South Africa and retired CEO of National Public Radio.

Though a final, formal vote by the county commission is still required, the commission has set the stage for a public vote on April 3 on whether to increase the gross receipts tax 1/4 percent in Doña Ana County to help fund the spaceport. That has not been without controversy. Commissioner Oscar Vasquez Butler doesn’t want voters to have the chance to decide whether to raise taxes, and another commissioner and a few other community leaders have expressed reservations about the project.

With that in mind, People for Aerospace aims to disseminate information and help answer questions about the spaceport, according to a news release from the group.

“There are many questions people have regarding Spaceport America,” Hummer said in the release. “The goal of this Web site is to provide an abundance of information to educate the public on Spaceport America and to answer frequently asked questions about the GRT tax.”

“It has been our experience that, the more people learn about the spaceport, the more support we have received for the GRT tax because, at the end of the day, Spaceport America, to me, is all about creating a better future for our children and future generations,” he said.

Lewis agreed.

“I believe strongly that Spaceport America will be the economic engine to create business opportunities and jobs for our community,” he said. “This is an exciting opportunity for Southern New Mexico, our state and our region.”

The well-funded group is backed by many corporations and governments, according to the Web site. McCamley has been giving a presentation on the spaceport to governments and other groups around the county for several months and has received praise from many officials.

That presentation is one of many features on the Web site. There’s also a list of frequently asked questions, with answers, and a form for people who want to submit questions to the group.

No group has formed, at this time, to campaign against approval of the proposed tax increase.

One thought on “Group will promote approval of spaceport tax

  1. The proposed NM spaceport is being exalted above the stratosphere as a shining achievement of the entrepreneurial spirit that will provide economic prosperity for those residing in the land of enchantment. Although all the thunderous hype sounds marvelous could there be a downside that deserves equal limelight?

    For decades businesses have been taking advantages of being lured into areas where decent paying jobs are scarce. Naturally, businesses want all the leverage possible to insure the best odds of a successful launch, and I don’t blame them for taking advantage of the inducements politicians are quick to furnish. But do responsible parents shoot craps on a tax board that even Vegas wouldn’t bet on?

    If this proposed spaceport is such a good deal for the British billionaire why does he require taxpayer money for such a lucrative business endeavor? Could it be that there are unpleasant risks that need to be shared by all those multiple thousands who will be getting rich from the glorious janitorial jobs that only the locals are qualified for?

    Can the people really afford to pay more for practically everything else they need or want just to send a few wealthy people on a giant roller coaster ride?

    Taxes never go away, and almost always untested business plans have unexpected cost over-runs along with shattered blue-sky dreams. So, if any miscalculation or tragedy occurs who’s going to pay?

    Joseph Cummins