Landeene to Otero County: Your Vote Doesn’t Matter

Otero County residents may have rejected a tax increase to help send millionauts on space joyrides, but the show will go on. The New Mexico Spaceport Authority released the following statement about the vote on Tuesday that basically says, “Hey, it’s your loss”:

“With the rejection of the proposed spaceport tax in Otero County, New
Mexico, New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials will move forward with Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. “This is a disappointment because this tax would have generated tremendous benefits for the people of Otero County,” said NMSA Executive Director Steve Landeene. “However, we will move forward with the project as we have acquired almost 97% of the needed funding, and we will look for support from other local governments or New Mexico counties not currently in the district that have expressed interest in joining.”

“The election, which would have increased local gross receipts tax by one-eighth of one percent, drew a large turnout of voters. 9,479 voted in support of the spaceport, and 10,412 voted against. The TDD is currently made up of Doña Ana County and Sierra County, both of which have already approved taxation for the spaceport’s construction. Landeene says that other counties in the state have expressed interest in joining the TDD, and looks forward to exploring those options.

“Spaceport America holds great promise for New Mexico’s economic future and has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Racing Inc./Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. With planning moving along rapidly, the NMSA currently projects that licensed vertical launches should begin in the first quarter of 2009 and that the terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches should be completed by late 2010.”