The state already hosts the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), designed to promote commercial dual use of the existing Federal Wallops Flight Facility. Wallops, located on Virgina's Atlantic coast, provides launch and support for "suborbital research programs." But with the end of the Space Shuttle, there's necessarily greater emphasis on commercial space opportunities (page 28).
One of those opportunities is space burial of the ashes of human remains, also called "Memorial Spaceflights". So, in preparation for the January session, Delegate Kilgore proposed a tax-break for those who pre-pay to be as far away from their loved-ones once they've departed corporeal existence. Specifically, House Bill 19 provides:
For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, but before January 1, 2021, a deduction shall be allowed to the purchaser for the amount paid during the taxable year for a prepaid contract entered into with a commercial space flight entity, as defined in § 8.01-227.8, to place the taxpayer’s human cremated remains into earth or lunar orbit from a spaceport facility operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority established pursuant to Article 2 (§ 2.2-2201 et seq.) of Chapter 22 of Title 2.2. The total amount deducted by any individual shall be limited to $8,000 per person. The amount deducted on any individual income tax return in any taxable year shall be limited to $2,500 per person. If the purchase price of a prepaid contract exceeds $2,500 per person, any amount in excess of $2,500 may be carried forward and subtracted in future taxable years until the lesser of the purchase price or $8,000 per person has been fully deducted.Supporters claim "the bill will raise the profile of and boost revenue at the spaceport," and "attract family and friends of the deceased, who in turn will visit nearby restaurants, hotels and other attractions," thereby benefiting state businesses and increasing tax receipts. Sounds suspiciously like Obama's stimulus plan--without (since it's cremation only) being "shovel ready."
The Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority Executive Director, Dr Billie Reed, called the burial plan a "giant step." (If not for mankind, then for the newly dead.) Yet, NASA can't even keep track of moon rocks. Perhaps a state could do better with ashes--though I thought "Virginia was for Lovers," not corpses.