Otero County in New Mexico turns down tiny tax to help build spaceport; proposition 1A passes in California

Friday, November 07, 2008

Vroom! Whoosh!

First, the bad news:

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority had hopes of adding Otero County to the regional spaceport district and its tax rolls. As of 11 p.m. with all votes but absentee in the spaceport tax was losing with 47.74 percent f the voters in favor of the tax and 52.26 percent against it.


A question on the ballot asked voters if the county should add a gross receipts tax of one-eighth of 1 percent for spaceport district operations for the next 10 years, with one-fourth of collections earmarked for local education.

In all, Otero County's tax contribution would amount to about 2 percent of the total spaceport investment, with other operational revenue coming from Sierra and Doña Ana counties, private investors and state coffers. Sierra and Doña Ana had already passed the spaceport tax.

That county alone wasn't going to pay for the spaceport so it's not the worst news in the world, but still not as good as a yes vote.

However, the project is still moving forward:
“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.
And in better news, California has passed Proposition 1A, which will create high-speed rail in California:

With votes still to be counted, it appeared Proposition 1A was passing by the majority needed, with more than 52 percent yes to 48 percent no votes.

Supporters say it provides for a $9.95 Billion bond issue that will help the state get federal matching funds to build a highspeed commuter rail system between Anaheim and the San Francisco Bay area, with stops planned in Burbank and Sylmar.

Yes on 1A spokesman Greg Larsen said, "We know that voters realized that they do need to look at transportation alternatives for California to reduce congestion, to ease air pollution and to reduce dependence on oil...and frankly to create jobs that this economy so badly needs."


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