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New Mexico voters approve spaceport tax
Posted: Fri, Apr 6, 2007, 8:29 AM ET (1229 GMT)
Voters in a southern New Mexico county approved this week a tax increase that will be used to help finance the development of a commercial spaceport. Voters in Doña Ana county, which includes the city of Las Cruces, voted Tuesday on a referendum that would increase the gross receipts tax by a quarter-percent. Three-quarters of the money would be used to finance bonds that will pay for the development of Spaceport America, north of Las Cruces, with the rest used for educational efforts. The tax had a lead of just over 200 votes late Tuesday, with over 500 provisional ballots to be counted, but by late Thursday the lead by the "yes" votes exceeded the number of ballots remaining to be counted, indicating victory for the measure. The approval of the tax was lauded by governor Bill Richardson and spaceport supporters in the state, who previously warned that state and other funding for the project might be in jeopardy had the tax referendum failed. The spaceport, to be built by the end of the decade, will serve as the home base for Virgin Galactic, the suborbital space tourism venture backed by Richard Branson.
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