Keller signs tax increase bill

Mayor Tim Keller has broken his campaign promise to put all tax increase proposals to city voters by signing an ordinance to raise the gross receipts tax in the city by three-eights-of-a-cent, or $55 million a year.

Keller signed the bill on March 15, according to the City Council's website.

The 0.375 percent gross receipts tax would be applied to most goods and services sold in the city and would bring the city’s gross receipts tax rate to 7.875 percent. The tax hike will take effect on July 1.

Keller and city councilors said the tax increase was needed in order to fund a projected $40 million city budget deficit and to help in hiring up to 300 more police officers. The City Council approved the increase by a 8 to 1 vote on March 5.

In early March, Keller told the Albuquerque Journal that he would have to renege on on his campaign promise to take all tax hike proposals to city voters.

“I remember my stance on that, and I want to try and keep that stance and I believe in that stance,” Keller told Journal reporters and editors. But, “it would be fiscally irresponsible for me to say we should wait three years to get funding for law enforcement.”

Keller had said during the mayoral race that he would raise taxes only as a last resort for public safety and only with voter approval.

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