Spaceport Snake Oil Salesmen: On the Prowl Again

We at the Rio Grande Foundation have written a good deal about the proposed New Mexico Spaceport. Now, the new director of the Spaceport, Steve Landeene, is making the pitch for “tax hikes for billionaires” to justifiably-skeptical voters in Sierra County.
Landeene argued before the Sierra County Commission that the 1/4-cent gross receipts sales tax hike which will be on the ballot on April 22 is “the key to unleashing world history right here in Sierra County.” He went on to claim that “one study estimated the spaceport would generate $1 billion in economic development and 2,250 jobs within the first five years of operation.”
Of course, the question Landeene didn’t answer is why Sierra County residents should be asked to pay higher taxes — on top of an already-onerous 7.25% gross receipts tax rate — in order to pay for millionaires and others to go into space? If this project is really going to generate $1 billion, shouldn’t the investors be able to afford to build the Spaceport themselves?

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