|Yes, Virginia, There Is A Space Clause|
|Written by Jeff Krukin|
|Monday, 24 December 2007|
Sometimes it takes a revolution, and Virginia is no stranger to shaping the course of history... on Earth and now in space.
On July 1st of this year, the Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act became law in Virginia. This in itself sets the state apart from most of its brethren, but it's just part of a broader effort to make Virginia a leader in the emerging space economy.
On Dec. 10th, the Virginia General Assembly's Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) began considering "A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 58.1-322 and 58.1-402 of the Code of Virginia, relating to income tax exemptions for spaceflight activities in Virginia." Known as "Zero G, Zero Tax," the Citizens' Space Lobby ProSpace has made several efforts to have similar legislation passed by the US Congress... to no avail.
According to Jack Kennedy, Vice-Chair of the Va. Aerospace Advisory Council, "The Virginia version of 'ZeroG, ZeroTax' has the recommendation of both the Joint Commission on Technology and Science and the governor's newly appointed Aerospace Advisory Council. I have hope for its enactement by the Virginia General Assembly this winter as the next logical follow-on to the 'Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act.'"
Taking a page from the "power to the people" handbook, the power of the space economy is devolving as it should from the decades-old centrally-planned model owned and operated by the Federal Government to a larger and more diverse constituency that also includes state officials, entrepreneurs, and local economic development leaders. This is the unheralded benefit of the Apollo program; trickle-down space economics where activities once affordable only by the Federal Government are now viewed through the lense of commercial viability and thus seen as valuable at the state and local levels.
Another benefit comes from NASA's brilliance at seeding its contracts across many Congressional districts around the nation, thus ensuring Congressional support for its job-creating programs. This means that the seeds of the space economy exist across the country, and not just in the traditional space states like Alabama, California, Florida and Texas. Businesses that are suppliers to the civil space program would see greater opportunity in commercially driven space activity. So, with all due respect to Harry Truman, the buck does not stop here. If it stops at all, it will be somewhere among the stars (with apologies to Starbucks).
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