In the wake of the various police shootings and issues over mental health problems, the Albuquerque City Council will be considering a tax hike of 1/8th of a percentage point on the gross receipts tax tonight. I have previously discussed the rationale or lack thereof for such a tax hike. Details follow:
To state the issue simply, there is no reason to raise taxes. There is no clear understanding of the issues at play in the first place and there is certainly no research or even widespread understanding that a tax hike will improve the situation. And New Mexico’s mental health spending is middle-of-the-pack among states, so it is hard to state on its face that more funding is required.
More importantly, when it comes to mental health issues in New Mexico, it must be noted that this spate of mental health problems coincides with some very tough economic times in our city/state. There’s no scientific evidence that I know of that the economy is the problem, but that argument is just as plausible as the “let’s raise taxes” argument. Raising taxes certainly seems unlikely to improve the local economy.
UPDATE: Due to protests, the meeting has been rescheduled for June 9, but according to media reports, no public comment will be allowed.
UPDATE 2: The tax hike issue will be discussed before the full council, presumably in an open meeting with public comment, in August. Stay tuned.