Hide your wallets; another city tax hike proposed.
Money grabbers want to hike the GRT by three-eights-of a cent, or 0.375 percent
Would increase the GRT rate to 7.875 percent
Two city councilors want more your money - up to $55 million more a year – and are proposing to take it through yet another tax hike. This time they're proposing a three-eights-of-a-cent gross receipts tax increase.
The councilors, Republican Trudy Jones and Democrat Ken Sanchez, say the money is needed to hire more police officers and to plug a projected $40 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year. They will introduce their proposed tax hike ordinance at Wednesday's City Council meeting.
Each one-eight-cent of GRT raises around $19 million a year. If the council approves the tax – and it is allowed to do so without taking it to a public vote - it would raise the GRT in the city to 7.875 percent, up from the current 7.5 percent.
(Photo: Ken Sanchez.)
Since 2010, the GRT in the city has risen by more than 20 percent. In 2010, the GRT was 6.625 percent. That represents $140 million a year in tax increases for both the city and county residents. Add another $55 million a year to that if the council approves Sanchez's proposal.
Sanchez said the extra money is needed to hire more cops. APD has around 850 officers and is budgeted for 1,000 officers. But until three years ago, APD was budgeted for 1,100 officers. The council cut the budgeted manpower level when it became clear that APD wasn't able to hire all those officers. Where did all that saved/extra money go?
Then there is the fact that the city already has a quarter-cent Public Safety GRT that has been on the books since the early 2000s. It's now raising about $36 million a year. Where is that money going?
(Photo: Trudy Jones.)
Although the proposed tax hike might have p[political support, it might not have public support because city residents just might have tax hike fatigue. In March of 2017, the Bernalillo County Commission approved a three-sixteenths of a cent GRT hike in the county, which includes the city. That raised an extra $30 million a year for the county and boosted the GRT rate in the city to 7.5 per cent.
Two years prior to that, the county commission rifled taxpayers' pockets by increasing the gross receipts by $30 million.
And in 2015, city voters approved a one-sixteenth-cent GRT increase to rehab exhibits at the zoo.