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Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Secure U.S. Leadership in Space Act proposes tax-free bonds for spaceports

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A group of congressmen and senators recently introduced the Secure U.S. Leadership in Space Act of 2024, proposing amendments to the country’s tax code to give spaceports access to tax-free bonds.

Meant to keep the U.S. competitive in the latest space race, as China and Russia, in particular, invest increasingly in their space efforts, the bill would change American tax law to treat spaceports more like airports and seaports. This, the lawmakers argued, would allow spaceports to expand and invest in infrastructure and technological advances.

Backers of the bill included U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) all lawmakers from states with a stake in the space race.

“Given the global instability, the U.S. must make the development of our space infrastructure a priority to remain competitive with our adversaries,” Dunn said. “Our airports and seaports receive tax-exempt bonds, and our spaceports should receive the same. This would incentivize private-public partnerships that bolster innovation and spur economic growth.”

Notably, the bill would not require any space facility to be open to the public to be treated as a spaceport for these bonds. It would open municipal bonds to expand space launch capacity at American facilities.

“As the Representative for Vandenberg Space Force Base, our nation’s West Coast range, my communities and I are seeing the firsthand reality of the exponential increase in commercial space launches year after year,” Carbajal said. “Opening public-private revenue sources like municipal bonds, which were a foundational tool to meeting our nations’ needs when our new frontiers were the ocean or the air, will help us meet this important moment in the development of our space economy.”