Critics have long contended that money from Dona Ana County’s spaceport gross receipts tax should only be used to pay off construction bonds. But a KRWG News investigation has revealed that the county ordinance authorizing the tax does not restrict the use of the money in that way. In fact, as KRWG’s Fred Martino uncovered, the ordinance does not even specify a date when the tax will be repealed.
Some critics have been disappointed that money from the county’s spaceport gross receipts tax has been used for operations. Former state Senator Lee Cotter even introduced a bill that aimed to prevent the practice. Cotter and others note that many voters thought the spaceport tax placed on the ballot a decade ago was to pay for spaceport construction.
But a KRWG News investigation has revealed the ordinance passed by the county commission in 2007 does not include that specific restriction. And in fact, without a repeal, the tax will continue after the construction bonds are paid off in the next decade.
And this does not appear to be an oversight. The signed ordinance, which you can see in this story at krwg.org, includes a section called “delayed repeal” in which the repeal date is not included.
Spaceport CEO Dan Hicks told KRWG he needs funding beyond construction bond payments because competing spaceports are making big investments in their facilities.
But some question additional investment in a spaceport that now has competition across the country. You can ask questions of Spaceport CEO Dan Hicks and others at KRWG studios tomorrow. Join us for the taping of a KRWG-TV spaceport forum in our Milton Hall studios Tuesday afternoon at 1. You can print a parking pass in the “about us” section at krwg.org.