California may have found a creative new revenue stream—taxing rocket launchesEnlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January, 2017. (credit: SpaceX)
Home to the Mojave Air & Space Port and promising launch companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Orbit, California has a thriving rocket industry.

Accordingly, the state is now looking into taxing this vibrant industry, and the Franchise Tax Board has issued a proposed regulation for public comment.
The proposal says that California-based companies that launch spacecraft will have to pay a tax based upon “mileage” traveled by that spacecraft from California. (No, we’re not exactly sure what this means, either).

The proposed regulations were first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Thomas Lo Grossman, a tax attorney at the Franchise Tax Board, told the newspaper that the rules are designed to mirror the ways taxes are levied on terrestrial transportation and logistics firms operating in California, like trucking or train companies.

The tax board is seeking public input from now until June 16, when it is expected to vote on the proposed tax.

The federal government already has its own taxes for commercial space companies, and until now no other state has proposed taxing commercial spaceflight.
In fact most other states, including places like Florida, Texas, and Georgia, offer launch providers tax incentives to move business into their areas.
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