Spaceport America Legislation Not Going Anywhere

The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space building with a security fence around it. (Credit: Alex Heard)
The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space building with a security fence around it. (Credit: Alex Heard)

It appears that two measures relating to Spaceport America aren’t going anywhere in New Mexico Legislature:

Senate Bill 267, sponsored by Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, calls for the state to put Spaceport America up for sale. Senate Bill 75, sponsored by Sen. Lee Cotter, R-Las Cruces, would prohibit the Spaceport Authority from using revenue from the local gross receipts tax left over after making bond payments for operations at the spaceport. It would also prevent the Spaceport Authority from issuing bonds or taking out loans.

Both bills passed through the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee in the first month of then session, but have not been heard in Senate Finance. They will likely remain there until the session ends at noon Saturday, said Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming.

“Behind the scenes, there wasn’t much support for either bill,” Smith said. “Cotter hasn’t bothered me, and Sen. Muñoz is on Finance, and he really hasn’t nudged me. But, I’ve been here long enough that I’m difficult to nudge.”

House Bill 2, the main budget bill, which was passed through the Senate late Monday night, has a one-time appropriation of $500,000 for operations at the spaceport, along with a recurring appropriation of $463,000, which remained flat.

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