$20 Million a Year, and No ‘Specifics’?


Critics of Bernalillo County’s latest GRT hike certainly felt vindicated by Dan McKay’s article Saturday in the Albuquerque Journal.

Commissioners approved the tax increase, a portion of which is earmarked for behavioral-health programs, in February 2015. At the time, Wayne Johnson, who represents District 5, called the measure “premature.” His colleague Lonnie Talbert, who represents District 4, agreed, noting that there was “no plan” for how the revenue “would be spent, managed and leveraged with other government and private resources.”

Now, well over a year later, McKay reported that “city and county leaders are still working together to coordinate the most effective use of the money,” and specifics “haven’t been identified.”

That’s a shame. New Mexico has some of the most severe substance-abuse and mental-health problems in the country. The need is real, and there indeed is a role for government to play in the issue. But blindly passing a tax hike and hoping that the revenue raised will, somehow, do some good? It’s lousy policy. Kudos to the commissioners who stood against it.