Published: 3:00 pm, Thu. Aug. 13th, 2015
TO THE EDITOR:
The Eddy County Commission will likely be making a final decision at their next meeting on whether or not to implement an additional two-eighths percent Gross Receipts Tax hike on the voters of the county. The county has already added a one-eighth percent hike. Artesia also passed a one-eighth percent hike to make itself whole after the legislature made the adjustment to the tax code. The City of Carlsbad chose not to raise taxes.
I’ve been asked by numerous citizens what my position is on this matter.
The ability to implement this tax was created on Jan. 1, 2014.
The state did away with a tax on food and medical, but as a compromise allowed communities to add up to a three-eighths of a percent increase in gross receipts tax instead. Just because an option exists does not mean we should take it. A single one-eighth gross receipts hike will more than compensate for the elimination of the food and medical tax. Additionally, I believe this option was largely intended to be a choice for municipalities and not for counties, who traditionally generate most of their revenue from land tax, Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and other sources.
Residents of municipalities, who of course also live in the county, face the possibility of taxation double jeopardy.
If the county passes this increase during their next meeting, the residents of Carlsbad and Artesia, where most gross receipts taxes are spent in the county, would obviously face most of this burden.
For them, the county’s gross receipts tax increase would be added on top of the city’s existing gross receipts tax, making the new Carlsbad rate 7.8125 percent and the Artesia rate over 8 percent.
We’re trying to fix the roads – we all know that, but we also want to keep business here and bring new business here. We don’t do that when we reach a gross receipts tax level that is not competitive with other communities. We’ve all enjoyed our recent period of growth, and the restaurants and other businesses that come with that growth, but a county decision to raise taxes for the citizens of Carlsbad and Artesia would not be the best way to fund road improvements.
The county recently announced that it actually had a surplus of several million dollars last year. Additionally, Eddy County already has implemented the one-eighth of one percent increase.
That’s enough. I encourage our commissioners to vote no at their next meeting.
Dale Janway Mayor, City of Carlsbad