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California may give tax breaks to SpaceX, other space travel firms

Lawmakers approve legislation to advance a bill that would give private space exploration companies a break on property taxes.

SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket.
Commercial space-exploration companies may end up with a big tax break if they call California their home.

The state Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would exempt private-sector space-travel companies such as SpaceX from paying property taxes on their spacecrafts and properties, a potential boost to help offset the costs of running their expensive missions.

The 10-year exemption would be part of an overarching effort by lawmakers to bring new life to California's aerospace industry.

"With this bill, California can incubate and grow this exciting new industry and create thousands of good paying manufacturing jobs right here in our state," state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D), the author of the bill, said in a statement.

In addition, Muratsuchi said that the legislation would help encourage space exploration companies to remain in the state. "I introduced this bill to clarify the tax code as it relates to this new industry so that companies like SpaceX can have the legal certainty they need to make major infrastructure investment decisions and avoid unnecessary litigation," Muratsuchi said.

The measure passed the Assembly 64-5 and will now go to the state Senate.