Watching the GRT Hikers (and Maintainers)

The Rio Grande Foundation is monitoring the situation in Eddy County, where a grassroots revolt against GRT hikes is underway. But GRTs are in the news in several other New Mexico counties, too.

Santa Fe County voters will be deciding the fate of a one-eighth-cent GRT increase on September 19. Justified by backers as needed for “public safety” and behavioral health, as the chart above indicates, it would add to a county GRT burden that has risen by 19.1 percent since 2000.

The head of the Republican Party of Santa Fe County recently made a compelling case against the hike:

In February, property taxes for many in Santa Fe County were increased to fund Santa Fe Public School’s [sic] $100 million bond referendum. In May, the Santa Fe City Council denied city residents relief from that increase by unilaterally extending the $30 million bond for parks that voters had agreed to in 2008. That bond would have expired — and property tax rates gone down — absent the City Council’s extension of it, an action the Council took so it could give city government workers an across-the-board pay raise. And we must not forget higher parking fees, proposals for higher gas taxes and the proposed sugar tax.

Tomorrow, in nearby Rio Arriba County, commissioners will vote on a GRT hike that’s predicted to bring in an addition $1.2 million per year. Earlier this month, a Rio Grande Sun reporter offered another example of the media’s “math is hard” blundering, claiming that the rate would increase “by .375 percent.” Actually, it would rise by 5.8 percent — adding to a burden that has risen by 15.6 percent since the turn of the century.

Finally, one week ago, Luna County voters chose to retain a one-eighth-cent tax for emergency services. Among the three counties, Luna’s GRT burden has risen the most — 20.1 percent — since 2000.

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