Richard Branson channels his inner “Lucy”

Leave it up to Bill Richardson and New Mexico’s government to construct a fancy $200+ million taxpayer-financed Spaceport without making sure that New Mexico’s laws are in order to make the project a success. Richard Branson recently stated that he has “quit counting the days” to first launch and that it is at least “12-18 months away,” an eternity in the business world. In other words, “who knows” if and when Virgin Galactic will truly use Spaceport America as a launch site, thus, hopefully spurring economic growth in southern New Mexico?

Interestingly, back in 2009, Virgin was saying “18 months” to launch. While this is starting to feel a bit like Lucy and the football, it is hard to blame Virgin for wanting to have liability protections in place for parts suppliers. Of course, they knew at the outset that New Mexico’s legal climate was close to that of a third world country, that we have high taxes, high crime, and bad schools, but they had nothing to lose since New Mexico taxpayers were on the hook for the project anyway.

A note to state policymakers: before blowing taxpayer dollars on speculative ventures like spaceports, let’s get the basics of good government under control. Let’s reform our legal and criminal justice systems, reduce tax burdens on businesses and entrepreneurs, and improve our schools. Until we do the basics, the success of ventures like the Spaceport are just a mirage.

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4 Replies to “Richard Branson channels his inner “Lucy””

  1. Spot on! I have worked in industrial real estate in this region for over twenty two years and know that this Spaceport was poorly planned and executed.

    If we get our legislative house in order, we’ll reap nice benefits in the decades to follow, but it won’t be any grand slam over the first five or so years.

    So many smart people, so much Kool Aid to serve. The sitting establishment has a history of sloppy due diligence.

    I am confident that it will improve, however.

  2. What would happen if the State put in place the liability protections and then there were to be a lawsuit. Who pays?

  3. it is really discouraging to drive into ABQ and see all the bill boards for personal injury attorneys….unfortunately we have wolves guarding the hen house in Santa Fe, and DC. Law suites have crippled private aviation, possibly ABQ’s balloon fiesta now, and for sure the Spaceport.

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