Thursday, December 15, 2011

Legislation of the Day

Terry Kilgore is a rocket man. Well, actually, he's an attorney and Virgina State Delegate (R-Gate City). But he wants the public to buy a ticket to space, and to prime the pump with a tax break--for the dead.

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.


OBloodyHell said...

I dunno, I can see this being handled as an "x-prize" kind of thing, rewarding a company for creating an at least marginally viable business with the idea.

But short of that, yeah, this is not the kind of proper use of taxpayer-stolen-income.

KitWistar said...

Your Xmas selections #1-5 are, of course, right up there with perfection. Funny, when I was thinking up my list, I totally forgot about Robert Shaw, even though I grew up listening to it every December.
(Many years ago, my family had a French recording of Christmas Eve chants at the monastery of Montserrat. Even as a small child, it hauntingly resonated in my soul. The soprano was like ice, singing. Despite searching, I have yet to be able to find that album again.)
In my list I forgot the Bach-Gounod “ Ave Maria”; I especially like the Irish Tenors version.

I had not known that Aaron Neville recorded Christmas music---it is just Lucious and
already added to my favourites. John Ritter and George Winston are good companions for the holidays, though neither makes my top 10.
The Roches—what was your comment? Love ‘em or hate ‘em. I’m the latter. I’ve never knowingly heard them before & I hope never to again. Waaaay too Laura Nyro-y for my taste.
My “love it or hate it”s are Mahalia Jackson singing “O Come all ye Faithful” and Ella
Fitzgerald singing “White Christmas”, a song I otherwise cannot stand.
This year, though my kids have no interest in it, I’m going to try to go to the Messiah SingAlong
at the KC; I haven’t done it in years & its really fun.

Additionally, your posting on Boeing reminded me of this: The 787 Dreamliner is unbelievable! Its already won all kinds of design prizes with IDSA & its just drop-dead gorgeous inside and out. Were that I could actually see one in the flesh, so to speak, let alone get on one.

Carl said...

OBH: the prize for launch/return/recycle/launch already has been awarded so it doesn't advance the technology. Admidately, it might advance Virginia, so tax relief for that state is fine with me--I don't live there.

I haven't been on a 787 yet -- Qatar Air hasn't yet taken delivery -- but I look forward to the chance.

Kit's Christmas music comment and my reply are here.