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The Virginia Blastoff Bailout

By Greg L | 8 December 2011 | Virginia House | 15 Comments

If there were a contest each General Assembly session for the dumbest bill of the year, HB 19 would be a very strong contender this time around.  Seriously, are we really going to be giving people $8,000 tax breaks to help blast minuscule portions of people’s earthly remains into space?

From the Virginian-Pilot:

Del. Terry Kilgore has introduced legislation that would provide a tax credit of up to $8,000 for those whose mortuary arrangements involve booking passage for their cremated remains aboard a commercial space flight to send them into Earth or lunar orbit.

Don’t tell me that all that taxpayer money we’ve already sunk into the idea of building commercial space launch facilities in Virginia was for the sole purpose of allowing someone to launch tiny portions of cremated human remains into space in order to satisfy some weird post-mortem sense of vanity.  There isn’t a tax break apparently being proposed to do any kind of actual business operations, say lifting sattelites into orbit that would serve some business purpose and actual return on investment.  There’s no tax break being proposed this year to help perform science, or aid in discovery using this publicly subsidized launch facility.  The only break being proposed essentially provides public financing for (I’ll be charitable here) unusual companies to try to physically boost human remains into the heavens.

If someone really wants to buy an $8,000 one way ticket for less than a gram of Uncle Fred’s ashes towards outer space, that’s fine.  It’s their money, and I don’t care what strange thing they decide to do with it, within reason.  But I am not ever going to subsidize it.  Not ever.

Terry Kilgore, you are a blithering idiot here.  What the hell were you thinking?

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  1. Anonymous said on 8 Dec 2011 at 9:31 pm:
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    Will it create jobs at Wallop’s Island?

  2. Urning a living said on 9 Dec 2011 at 12:06 am:
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    @ Anonymous
    From the D.14 section
    “…. from a spaceport facility operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority established pursuant to Article 2….”

    I only know of one of those is VA, and that is at Wallops

    As for creating jobs, that depends on the demand. Space Grade Urns are not yet in high demand, but it could be a trend coming.

    Given the price tag on launching a rocket, the ashes would likely travel as “extra baggage” with a larger payload.
    For example, SpaceX will charge $ 10.9 million for a smaller rocket like the Falcon 1 that could put a jumbo 1 ton refrigerator into orbit

  3. Maureen said on 9 Dec 2011 at 5:24 am:
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    Oh I’m sure we’ll come across a dumber bill than this once the session is in full swing.

  4. Doug Brown said on 9 Dec 2011 at 7:47 am:
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    DOA any way you look at it.

  5. Steve Thomas said on 9 Dec 2011 at 12:32 pm:
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    Wait….what? I’m checking the URL at the top of the page, and this sure looks like bvbl.net…for a minute, I thought I was on theonion.com. This bill gets a big Facepalm from me.

    The reason I say this is giving a tax credit to stimulate a market that really has no marked demand (sending ashes into space) while woefully underfunding a tax-credit program that would allow area businesses to add employees with less-overhead, decrease traffic congestion, increase worker satisfaction and productivity, namely the Virginia Telework program, to the point where it’s really no incentive at all. Employers looking to add people without increasing office space, or looking to downsize to a smaller office sapce, must layout capital to outfit the teleworker’s home office, and modify core IT infrastructure to enable reliable remote access. Servers, firewalls, VoIP phone systems, mobile phones, any number of things. There used to be a program that provided a direct incentive based on the number of teleworkers enabled, the number of trips eliminated, and where the the office was located. Inside 495 got more than a company out in Warrenton. The program was restricted to areas where the worst congestion is, NoVA, Richmond, VA Beach. This program was scrapped in favor of a Tax Credit system. I have no problem with that. However, the GA capped it at a $1 Million, state wide. Now companies all over the state, even in places with no congestion, can avail themselves of the program. Again, no problem with this, either. When you place a cap on it, now it becomes a pro-rata issue. The more that apply, the less available for each company, and there goes the tax incentive to implement telework. Less telework, more cars on the road. With the influx of jobs coming into NoVA, with the BRAC realignment, one of the tools to deal with the inevitable increase in congestion has been screwed with to the point of near-ineffectiveness.

  6. Jonathan Way said on 9 Dec 2011 at 11:20 pm:
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    I don’t usually comment on blog entries, even though many of them are informative and useful. This one, however, overcomes me. Maybe we should subsidize launching of this chap, before or after he is just remains.

  7. Anonymous said on 10 Dec 2011 at 9:04 am:
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    Remember the saggy pants legislation?

    Never underestimate these twirps.

  8. Padre said on 10 Dec 2011 at 1:07 pm:
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    Dust in the wind
    All they are is dust in the wind

    More space debris to worry about coming back down.

    Death by urn.

  9. Maureen said on 10 Dec 2011 at 8:58 pm:
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    Why does our government continue to let this happen?

    Fugitive illegal immigrant wanted in felony hit-and-run
    By: Scott McCabe | 12/10/11 8:05 PM
    Examiner Staff Writer Follow Him @Scott_McCabe
    Immigration officials are looking for an criminal illegal alien with a violent past who is wanted in a felony hit-and-run in Fairfax County.
    Noel Vasquez-Argueta, 28, of El Salvador, is wanted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. Vasquez-Argueta has previous convictions for brandishing a firearm and making threats in Fairfax County in 2010, and for felony eluding and driving while intoxicated in Prince William County in 2005. He was ordered to be removed from the United States in 2001.

    Vasquez-Argueta is listed as being 5-feet-9 and 195 pounds. He was last seen in Annandale.

    – Scott McCabe

  10. Maureen said on 10 Dec 2011 at 9:00 pm:
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    Here’s the link.

  11. Holly said on 10 Dec 2011 at 9:22 pm:
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    I guess after they detain him and DHS will offer him a work permit,drivers licenses, etc,etc, sure the above is all a misunderstanding, the illegal will settle for undisclosed amount.Do not forget the Mexican drug cartels are operating here too.

  12. Gnarly said on 11 Dec 2011 at 6:22 am:
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    First off….there’s not a credible person in Virginia that would come close to saying Terry Kilgore is a blithering idot. I’m pretty sure you don’t know him on a personal or professional basis. So, let’s take the personal attack off the table….PLEASE.

    As far as the legislation, maybe you need to dig deeper. These kind of bills are usually a part of packages to lure a business who could possibly bring jobs to the Commonwealth. Logically, it would be carried by the Chair of Commerce and Labor.

  13. Greg L said on 12 Dec 2011 at 12:29 am:
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    Via the LA Times, slashdot has picked up the story. Having gone international, I think it’s safe to assume this bill is about as dead as a dead bill can get.

  14. Groveton said on 13 Dec 2011 at 6:54 am:
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    Thank you for this post. I have been tracking the most hare brained legislation from the Virginia General Assembly for some time now. Since my tracking began, I consider the “Devil Made Me Do It” (2010 - HB53) legislation as the all time most hare brained. I put a brief description of this chapter from Virginia’s version of Profiles in Courage on my now idle blog - http://grovetonsvirginia.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/hb53-the-devil-made-me-do-it/.

    I must say that this year’s “Fly (What’s Left Of) Me to the Moon” bill seems like a contender for all time most hare brained.

    I will continue to look at prefiled legislation and I’ll read your blog articles. Virginia’s General Assembly is rich in comedic material. I am sure this year’s session will provide a bumper crop of material.

  15. Anonymous said on 14 Dec 2011 at 10:36 am:
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    Grear Republican job ideas for Virginia!

    Ready for two years of this kind of stuff?

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