This story is more than a little out there — but that’s what makes it so fun to report! A Republican legislator in Virginia has proposed an $8,000 tax credit to go to anyone who agrees to be (posthumously) cremated and blasted into space on a rocket. Here’s The Washington Examiner’s Liz Essley, with more:
The bill, which goes before the General Assembly in January, is intended to help Gov. Bob McDonnell realize his goal of making Virginia “the number one commercial space flight facility in the nation.”
Virginia’s commercial space industry is already worth $7.6 billion in annual economic output and created 28,000 jobs, according to McDonnell. The state ranks third in orbital launch capacity, behind only Florida and California, according to a recent report commissioned by the state.
Kilgore’s bill would try to bolster that industry even more, even if it is just a small section of it. …
The state already offers a slew of benefits to commercial space flight companies, including corporate income tax breaks.
Apparently, just one company in the country presently does “space burials” on a regular basis. That would be the aptly-named Celestis, the founder of which says he frets this tax credit will inspire other companies to get in on the act and thereby up his competition.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think of this. Maybe it was studying the solar system every year in grade school that did it, but I’ve always been rather fond of space — and, as a kid, I just assumed commercial space travel would be commonplace by the time I was an adult. From that standpoint, I sympathize with Gov. McDonnell’s space dreams.
But this still isn’t any different from any governmental attempt to make the fortune of an industry that otherwise wouldn’t take off by itself. It’s at the state level, at least, but it still seems a little — again — out there. If I were a member of the Virginia legislature, I’d vote “no” to this in January.