8:05am - Sierra County OKs Spaceport Tax - Albuquerque Journal

8:05am — Sierra County OKs Spaceport Tax

Voters resoundingly approve measure to help build state's commercial space venture.

Sierra County voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a gross-receipts tax increase to help fund construction of the $198 million Spaceport America project southeast of Truth or Consequences, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Unofficial results showed that 65.7 percent of the voters favored the increase — which will add 25 cents to a $100 purchase — with 2,046 voting for and 1,066 against, the Sierra County Clerk's Office told the Journal.

Sierra County voters have turned down several recent bond issues, and opponents of the measure had argued that tax dollars should not be used to support private investment in a fledgling industry, the Journal reported.

But 42 percent of registered voters turned out to approve the measure, the paper said.

Dona Ana County voters last April narrowly approved an identical increase, and Sierra County's vote now means a tax district can be created to collect funds for the project, the Journal reported.

State government will pay $140 million of the projected $198 million cost to build the spaceport and roads leading to it.

Spaceport Authority officials want a three-county tax district to cover the remaining $58 million through bonds financed by the tax increase, the Journal said.

Otero County officials have said they would schedule a vote on the proposed tax in November, but only if Sierra County voters approved it first, according to the Journal. 

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