As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launched into space on Tuesday aboard a Blue Origin rocket, and back on Earth, a Democratic lawmaker announced a measure to tax commercial spaceflight.
Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Tuesday introduced what he is calling the Securing Protections Against Carbon Emissions (SPACE) Tax Act, which would create excise taxes on commercial space flights carrying human passengers for purposes other than scientific research.
"Space travel isn’t a tax free holiday for the wealthy," Blumenauer wrote on Twitter. "We pay taxes on plane tickets. Billionaires flying into space—producing no scientific value—should do the same, and then some."
The measure would include a per-passenger tax on the price of a commercial flight to space and a two-tiered excise tax for each launch into space. The first tier would apply to flights between 50 miles and 80 miles above Earth’s surface, while the second "significantly higher" rate would apply to flights more than 80 miles above Earth’s surface.
Blumenauer noted that space flights account for 60-times more carbon emissions than transatlantic flights on a per-passenger basis.
As previously reported by FOX Business, Bezos took off to space on Tuesday in what ended up being about a 10-minute flight.
Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson launched into space a little more than one week ago.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, another billionaire in the space industry, wished Bezos luck ahead of his launch.
Progressive Democrats have criticized billionaires for concentrating on space exploration when people in the U.S. do not have access to necessary resources.