Virginia Bill Would Direct Tax Revenues to Commercial Space Development

Pad OA at Wallops Island. (Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation)

Jack Kennedy informs me that there’s a move afoot in the Virginia Legislature to direct tax dollars generated by commercial human space entities in the state to support the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and development of the Wallops Island spaceport. The provision in Senate Bill 1447 reads:

Income tax paid by commercial space flight entities.

Beginning July 1, 2011, and for each fiscal year thereafter, the net revenue generated by the corporate income taxes paid by corporations that engage in commercial human spaceflights or commercial spaceflight training shall be transferred to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, established pursuant to Article 2 (2.2-2201 et seq.) of Chapter 22 of Title 2.2. The Tax Commissioner shall make a written certification to the Comptroller within 15 days of the close of each calendar quarter providing an estimate of the net revenue generated by the corporate income taxes paid by the corporations that engage in commercial human spaceflights or commercial spaceflight training in the calendar quarter. Not later than 30 days after the close of each quarter, the Comptroller shall transfer to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority an amount from the general fund that is equal to the estimate provided by the Tax Commissioner.

Below is the email that Kennedy sent out to supporters:

Friends and Associates:

It is my hope that you would have the time to help promote Senate Bill 1447: Tax revenues generated by commercial spaceflight; Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority measure. It has now been referred to members of the Virginia General Assembly Senate Finance Committee – following introduction Friday. Senator Wampler has worked with me in two sessions on this measure. Last year we sought to perfect the language as a state budget amendment. I deeply appreciate the Senator’s leap of faith in the promotion of a strong Virginia aerospace future.

Here is the text of SB 1447:

Members of the Senate Finance Committee:

Talking points:
1. The cost to state taxpayers nothing but may lead to significant dollars following to the spaceport if a Virginia corporation brokers sale of flights by private citizens from around-the-globe to fly on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the space station at the cost of an estimated $35 to $45 million per seat.
2. There are no specific commercial flights now scheduled; however, there could be a resumption of so-called “tourist” spaceflight participant contracts in 2013, sold by the Reston, Virginia-based Space Adventures, LLC. It has the potential of generating dollars for the spaceport in 2014 and beyond.
3. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority could volunteer or be subsequently directed to use any significant monies subsequent to 2014, 2015 for human-rating the commercial spaceport for human spaceflight to orbit.
Please urge members of the Senate Finance Committee to support Senator Wampler’s bill and advance it to the Senate floor for a favorable vote. Your action will promote the goal of building the “best commercial spaceport in America.”

Legislative History:

In 2008, Senator Wampler successfully obtained passage of the Virginia ZeroGravity, ZeroTax Act that lead to income tax benefits to any corporation that invests in Virginia to carry commercial payloads to Earth orbit from Wallops Island, Va. It was cited by the Federal Aviation Administration in the below linked report.

Thank you.
– J