A Possible “Revenue Enhancer” to Consider?

It is no secret that the Rail Runner has sucked massive amounts of taxpayer money away from New Mexico’s roads and highways. But, the point remains that — regardless of whether we ride the Rail Runner or not — we do all benefit from New Mexico’s road system.

So, as policymakers face a massive budget deficit in the special session, it would seem that Ruben Baca of the New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association has a point in arguing that “potential tax revenue could be generated through taxation of gasoline purchased on Native American lands.” While I have certainly purchased my share of gas on tribal lands between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, much of the uncollected tax revenues seem to go to tribal authorities, not consumers who purchase gas. Since gas taxes are one of the only taxes that resembles anything like a “user-fee” in New Mexico, closing this tax loophole would be a logical source of revenue.

Of course, this is not to say that we support higher taxes. But at this point, it seems like legislators are hell-bent on raising taxes during the special session. At this point it is just a matter of plucking the goose with the least amount of hissing.