Spaceport America needs a cash infusion from the Legislature this coming fiscal year to bridge a more than $2 million gap between costs and projected revenue – but it’s not a good year to have one’s hand out.
Economists are expected to release new state revenue estimates this week. And given the relentless slide in oil prices – on which about 12.5 percent of New Mexico’s direct general fund revenue depends – legislators may have significantly less to work with in fiscal 2017 as they try to fund everything from public education to Medicaid – as well as the day-to-day operations of the $218.5 million Spaceport America.
Crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped from more than $50 a barrel in November to about $30 a barrel Monday. Every $1 drop in the price of oil amounts to a state revenue reduction of about $10 million.
In the past few years, the spaceport has gotten about $462,000 annually from the Legislature to help fund operations. Gov. Susana Martinez’s proposed $6.5 billion budget asks for the same annual outlay for the spaceport plus an additional, non-recurring $2.35 million “for operating costs due to a shortfall in revenue from other sources.”