President Donald Trump plans to pursue public-private partnerships for develop the space industry, which is likely to increase the development and profitability of these firms.
The State of California obviously foresees this possibility as well. Never having seen a tax that it will not try and collect, the state’s Franchise Tax Board is seeking public comment on its proposal for computing taxes on commercial space transportation companies (hat-tip, Legal Insurrection reader Robert).
The private spaceflight industry remains small, despite grand ambitions to shuttle everything from tourists to 3-D printers into space. But the board says it created the rules to give entrepreneurs the confidence that once their businesses really start to take off, California’s tax code will be ready to handle them.
The rules are designed to apply to any company operating in California that generates at least half the money it takes in from “space transportation” — defined as the movement of people or property 62 miles above the surface of the Earth. That’s the internationally recognized line that separates our planet from the rest of space. It would apply to companies that use California as a launchpad, not California companies launching from other states, like Texas or Florida.
Interestingly, this will lead to double-taxation without representation and is so ham-handed that even a former member of the Obama Administration is complaining!
…The federal government already has its own taxes for commercial space companies, and until now no other state has proposed taxing commercial spaceflight. In fact most other states, including places like Florida, Texas, and Georgia, offer launch providers tax incentives to move business into their areas.
Phil Larson, a former Obama White House official who now is assistant dean of the University of Colorado’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, told Ars that California is discriminating against rocket companies by doubly taxing them. He also noted that such a tax would impede California’s ability to launch climate satellites, which Governor Jerry Brown has said he would do if President Trump cuts the ability of federal scientists to study Earth’s climate.
If California were actually spending the money collected responsibly, perhaps this quest might be less disturbing. However, our tax dollars go to benefits such as compression underwear and bracelets for transgender prisoners…. at the behest of a US District judge.
A U.S. district judge last week ordered California state prison officials to provide free chest-flattening underwear, also known as compression tops, to transgender inmates at women’s prisons and feminine accessories to transgender inmates at men’s prisons.
Requiring inmates to buy compression tops “effectively” denies those items to individuals who cannot afford them, according to U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who issued the order on Friday. Taxpayers, therefore, must foot the bill.
The order came out of a lawsuit concerning whether transgender prisoners should have access to certain clothing and accessories that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation argues could be altered as a disguise, aiding in escape attempts, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities fear inmates could alter items like nightgowns, robes, and scarves to look like street clothes and escape prison. Still, Tigar expanded the list of products prisoners could receive to include those items, among others.
As part of the order, men’s prisons must provide bracelets, earrings, hair brushes, and hair clips for transgender inmates.
As a palate cleanser, here is some amazing video of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it made its first-ever dive through the gap between Saturn and its rings late last month.DONATE
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