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TAX CREDITS SOUGHT FOR NASA WORK.

Byline: JIM SKEEN Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Supporters of a state tax credit aimed at bringing work on NASA's next manned spacecraft to California are pursuing two different tactics.

They are pushing a bill through the state Legislature and trying to convince the governor to include the credit in his upcoming budget revision.

The Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation approved amendments Monday to Assembly Bill 2033 adding tax credits for NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle to a bill extending similar tax credits for the F-35 joint strike fighter.

If approved, the bill would give companies a 10 percent tax credit for wages paid and equipment purchased for work in California on the spaceship intended to replace the aging space shuttles.

Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, who co-authored the legislation with Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-El Segundo, is trying to get the governor to include those credits in his May budget revisions.

``We're hopeful it'll be there as one way to grow the economy,'' Runner said. ``But there's no guarantees.''

The spacecraft program is expected to cost more than $104 billion over the next 15 years.Supporters of the tax credit include the California Space Authority, the nonprofit entity that coordinates state incentive packages for space employers.

``By ensuring that California becomes the manufacturing base for NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle, we'll be ensuring a new generation of aerospace jobs for our work force,'' stated Andrea Seastrand, executive director of CSA. ``The CEV credit is an appropriate means of using our tax system to bring significant defense contracting work to California workers.''

The CEV is intended to be a key component for efforts to return American astronauts to the moon by 2020. Sometime this fall, NASA will select either a team led by Lockheed Martin or one led by Northrop Grumman, with Boeing as its major partner, to build the crew exploration vehicle.

The craft looks like a larger version of the Apollo spacecraft that went to the moon in the 1960s and '70s.

The Lockheed Martin team has already announced it will assemble the spacecraft in Florida if it wins the contract.

The Florida state government is putting up an incentive package valued at $45.5 million for the winning contractor team.

The Northrop Grumman-led team will not disclose its assembly site, saying that it would be premature to talk about proposal details.

California officials said they haven't given up on attracting work from either team. Incentive packages for both teams have been put together.

The details of those packages are not being disclosed, but officials said they include tax credits for research and development work, assistance with employee training, and information about local incentives, such as the Antelope Valley's enterprise zone, which provides tax credits on wages and equipment purchases for work done within the zone.

The planned spacecraft will transport up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station and up to four astronauts for moon missions, which the agency expects to start in 2018.

james.skeen(at)dailynews

(661) 267-5743
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 26, 2006
Words:502
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