Richardson promotes spaceport tax increase

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Gov. Bill Richardson was one of a number of high-profile public officials who urged residents of Doña Ana County to approve a 1/4 percent gross receipts tax increase to help fund Spaceport America during a pep rally today at Vista Middle School in Las Cruces.

“I’m here to ask all Doña Ana County residents, voters, to support this spaceport initiative,” Richardson said. “The spaceport is about creating opportunity, research, creating jobs, creating a reason for our young people to graduate from high school and college and find good paying jobs and exciting jobs here in Southern New Mexico.”

Richardson said the project will also help create a better future for America through the commercialization of space.

“It’s America’s future, and it’s going to be here in Southern New Mexico,” he said. “We’re making history here in Doña Ana County.”

The event was sponsored by People for Aerospace, the group formed to promote approval of the tax increase on April 3, when the question will be asked of voters. Richardson and other leaders spoke to dozens of dignitaries, members of the media and hundreds of middle school students.

Doña Ana County Commissioner Kent Evans, making his first public appearance since having a cancerous tumor removed from his colon last week, said he believes Spaceport America will be the birthplace of an industry that sends mankind into the “final frontier.”

“Its birthplace will reap untold economic benefits for the people of Southern New Mexico,” Evans said. “Let there be no mistake. I support this 100 percent.”

Commissioner Bill McCamley, co-chair of People for Aerospace, asked the students in attendance to urge their parents to vote for the tax increase.

“There are very few times in the history of a community when a decision will so affect its future,” he said. “Voting yes means voting for jobs, voting for education, and voting for the future.”

Las Cruces Mayor Bill Mattiace agreed.

“We need a ‘yes’ vote on this spaceport initiative,” he said.

Opponents protest outside rally

As the pep rally went on inside the school’s gymnasium, about a dozen protesters stood on the shoulder of nearby Elks Drive urging passers-by to vote against the tax increase.

“No new taxes,” Vado resident Mitch Boyer yelled at passing motorists.

Arturo Uribe, a resident of Mesquite and community organizer, said a tax increase would be better spent on improving infrastructure.

“You’ve got people for aerospace. We’re people for a safer place,” he said. “We support a spaceport. What we don’t support is a 1/4 percent for it when we have communities with no basic services.”

McCamley and other supporters cite two studies that predict the spaceport will create thousands of jobs, bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy and increase the tax base in Doña Ana County, which would allow it to spend more money on infrastructure. They also argue that the spaceport will create high-paying jobs that will allow students to stay in the area after they graduate from college.

Richardson made such arguments during Monday’s speech, citing a study done by New Mexico State University.

“This is going to be 5,000 new jobs, and up to $1 billion in new revenue from this new industry, and this is good news because Southern New Mexico, many times, many years, has been neglected, and now the anchor of the space age is going to be right here,” Richardson said. “It’s going to transform our economy and improve our quality of life.”

Uribe doesn’t buy it, and told that to passing motorists.

“You ain’t going to space. I ain’t going to space,” he shouted at a group of students leaving the school on a bus following Richardson’s speech.

Here’s video of Richardson’s speech. It’s about 8.5 minutes long.

9 thoughts on “Richardson promotes spaceport tax increase

  1. why dont they just tax the people who make more than 40,000 a year income, and stop killing us that make less than 25,000 a year.

  2. Joseph,
    again, while no business wants to pay taxes, if they get something substantial out of those taxes, they usually will accept them. The key point being, to tap into the space travel and space colonization industry, a point of entry and exit will be needed.

    As for uncertainty, well, in the broad sense of nothing is ever truely known, but the likelyhood of success of space travel and space colonization is definatly one of those that is more likely than not.

  3. I think this is bologna!!!! why should we have to pay taxes for a space port when the only people that are going to benifit from it will be the rich, cause us people on fixed incomes wont be able to visit this masive space port.By the way you say there going to be buying a lot of lunches. its more like there going to be charging more for lunches….

  4. There are those who want the spaceport and apparently can see no reason to not pay higher taxes for the theoretical benefits of a spaceport. Nevertheless, just because there are those who don’t mind shelling out their own money to buy everything they might need for the next 20 years, what about all those who live on fixed incomes who don’t have a few extra dollars to shell-out every day for the next 20 years. Or, what about those who have not yet been born who cannot speak for or against being saddled with the costs of space-rides?. Worse yet, will higher taxes actually attract new businesses to NM? If businesses enjoy taxes then why not let all the businesses pay for this ride into the future where the only thing certain is uncertainty.

    Respectfully,
    Joseph Cummins

  5. Sheesh, people! Yes, you get a tiny little tax, and you also get a gigantic frickin’ SPACEPORT! What is that, chopped liver? There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that spaceport is going to be buying a heck of a lot of lunches. You think that you should become the vanguard of spacefaring civilization for nothing? Or would you rather wallow in being an impoverished backwater for the rest of eternity, but with very slightly lower taxes?

    Your choice.

  6. Concerned Young Citizen
    The question isn’t whether everyone will necassarily use it – the real question is whether everyone will benefits from it. And everyone will benefit from this, because this is the first major foray into space colonization.

  7. Do those who claim the fame of favoring this 20 year adventure into the depths of the people’s pockets have something to gain?

    I can understand the governor wanting it because it will help launch his ambitions of becoming the next president of the US. And, I can appreciate those who are promoting this joy-ride, because they will get to keep their slush-fund jobs by being able to dip into everyone’s wallets and purses.

    The schemers constantly claim it will be a wonderful future, maybe, but for who? Why should a few have lavish life-styles at the expense of the majority and what happens to the people if the promises fall out of the sky?

    Respectfully,
    Joseph Cummins

  8. Sad Funny that Bill emphasizes how we’re neglected in the Southern portion of the state when he fails to make ANY key appointments of Southern New Mexicans to influential State positions.But he doesn’t neglect to lobby for a new tax on Southern New Mexicans!

  9. I like the Governor. I do not like higher taxes. The majority of the citizens of this county cannot afford higher taxes. The spaceport will not be in Dona Ana any way. Voters dont listen to the same ol’ political promises we have heard over the years. Your pocket book and mine will thank us in the end. If the taxes are raised we will spending money on something vast majority of will never even get to use.

    -Concerned Young Citizen