Spaceport Competition

Here is the list of INCENTIVES available to space companies from the State of Florida:

 

FLORIDA INCENTIVES FOR SPACE COMPANIES

Standard Incentives

Florida provides significant tax incentives to companies that commit to creating and maintaining quality jobs that pay at least 115% of the average annual wage for the state. The Qualified Defense Contractor Tax Refund (QDC) provides tax refunds of up to $5,000 per job created; companies paying 200% of the average state wage receive the $5,000 benefit; while those paying between 115 and 200% receive smaller tax refunds on a sliding scale, with the minimum being $3,000.

Spaceflight companies are now clearly defined by Florida Statute as eligible for these tax refunds (see below).

Florida offers a Targeted Industry Tax Refund of up to $5,000 per new job created, or $7,500 in an Enterprise Zone. The Florida Enterprise Zone Program provides sales or corporate income tax credits to businesses located within or hiring from enterprise zones.

The State of Florida’s Quick Action Closing Fund provides cash grants to companies that agree to create a significant amount of high-value jobs in targeted industries; space qualifies as a subset of the overall aerospace sector. The Economic Development Transportation Fund (i.e., the “Road Fund”) provides discretionary grants for development of transportation infrastructure for high-impact projects.

Both of these programs are funded through annual appropriations, with funding awards made through a competitive application process. Formal application is made through Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s privatized economic development partnership, with final approval and funding disbursement through the Office of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development.

Training funds are provided through Workforce Florida; additionally, Workforce Development Boards in individual counties have funding available for new and expanding companies. Assistance is typically in the range of several hundred dollars for each new job created.

A capital investment tax credit provides for up to 20 years of corporate income tax credits equal to 5% of capital costs for new or expanded space industry facilities, based on minimum investment of $25 million and 100 jobs.

Space Transportation Incentives

Spaceflight Contractor’s Tax Refunds Act of 2008: This economic development and space bill expands the existing Qualified Defense Contractor (QDC) tax refund program to include spaceflight businesses. The refunds are based on the number of workers employed and the amount paid.

Florida offers an exemption from its 6% sales tax on real estate rents for “Space flight businesses” – operations that include manufacturing, processing, assembly of a space facility, space propulsion system, space vehicle, satellite or station of any kind possessing capacity of space flight. Also included are launch facilities, flight operations, ground control, ground support, and all administrative activities related to space flight.

There is an exemption of 25% of the sales tax on machinery and equipment for space technology products and research. Additionally, there is a 100% tax exemption for rockets, satellites, payloads, space-related components, and rocket and satellite fuel. Electricity used in aerospace manufacturing is also exempt from sales tax.

Florida offers High Impact Industry Grants of $1-12 million for new or expanding space-related manufacturers or R&D companies, based on new jobs and investment.

Authority Related Incentives

Space Florida has the power to issue revenue bonds, assessment bonds, or any other bonds or obligations authorized by the provisions of the Space Florida Act. Also in 2008, the Florida Legislature made a specific appropriation to Space Florida in the amount of $14.5 million for launch complex infrastructure build-up.

Regulatory Incentives

Spaceflight Informed Consent Act of 2008: Very similar to legislation passed in Virginia during the same year, this bill provides that a spaceflight entity is not liable Federal Aviation Administration / Commercial Space Transportation for injury to or death of a spaceflight participant resulting from the inherent risks of spaceflight launch activities, so long as the federal warning is given to and signed by the participant. The immunity provided by this bill doesn’t apply if the spaceflight entity:

•             Commits gross negligence or willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant;

•             Has actual knowledge or reasonably should have known of a dangerous condition; or

•             Intentionally injures the participant.

The primary difference between this bill and the Virginia legislation is that this legislation has no sunset provision as opposed to Virginia’s 5-year sunset provision.

Zero G Zero Tax Act: Also modeled after legislation recently passed in Virginia, this legislation provides for an exemption from state income tax on gross revenues generated from launching spacecraft or preparing or manufacturing them for launch.

Recent Examples

September 2015, Commissioners in Brevard County (population  550,823), home of the Kennedy Space Center, approved by a 4 to 1 vote adding an $8 million grant for the project, bringing the total value of state, regional and local incentives to lure Blue Origin to about $40 million.

 

Brevard County provided a $24.8-million (over 10 years) county-level tax abatement for Lockheed Martin to support their expanded Atlas V program. This was a substantial factor in the company’s decision to locate within the State of Florida.

 

 

What is the complete 'basket' of incentives that Camden County and the State of Georgia is ready to offer an operator of Spaceport Camden?

 

What is the current utilization of the existing spaceports?

 

Will the recent contracts at Kennedy Space Center for SpaceX and Blue Origin increase launch capacity significantly before Spaceport Camden could come on line?

 

Is there more capacity to be gained at Kennedy Space Center if 'retired' launch pads are resurrected?

 

Is there now a backlog of launches due to shortage of launch pads? If there is not a shortage now, in what year will there be a shortage of spaceport capacity?

 

Are any of the sites generating enough revenue to operate without government financial support?

 

Will US companies be allowed to launch from foreign spaceports if they can save money but capacity is available in the US?

 

How does Camden benefit if we have the spaceport, but other Georgia or Florida counties get the manufacturing jobs that are predicted? 

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