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At the recent Eddy County Commission meeting, commissioners passed 3 gross receipts tax (GRT) increases that go into effect Jan. 1, 2018. These increases will place a burden on and an uneven playing field for our local business and industry, and our GRT rate will become the highest in Southeastern New Mexico.

I would first like to thank Commissioner Jon Henry for listening to his constituents and voting NO to all 3 gross receipts tax increases and Brienne Green of the Artesia Daily Press for her coverage of the meeting and the article that ran last Sunday informing voters of what took place at the meeting.

Speaking to the citizens who went to the meeting and reading the article in the Daily Press, it’s very clear; 4 out of 5 commissioners are tired of hearing from the voters of Eddy County and would rather tax our residents, business and industry to bail the County out from their reckless spending over the last number of years.

Commissioner Stella Davis is certainly no friend of Artesia with her threats of cutting county services and closing offices in Artesia if the Artesia voters continue voicing their concerns on increased taxes. She further believes the County is not required to provide such things as the DMV, satellite offices for the assessor, clerk and other services for the residents of Artesia. I believe with the taxes Artesia residents and our business and industry send to the county, we are justified in having these services provided to our community.

Commissioner Stella Davis goes further in saying, “I can tell you, people in Artesia, if we continue to be hammered with comments opposing tax increases we’re going to have to look up there in Artesia to see where we can cut. You want cuts, we can make cuts. I’m not threatening, I’m just telling you a fact that it’s going to happen.”

It seems as Eddy County voters, we need to keep quiet, keep our opinions to ourselves and not rock the boat or we’ll get punished by having our county services taken away. We should all be thankful the Commissioners have a wonderful tool called increase the gross receipts tax to help the county overcome their deficiencies in balancing a budget and curbing their spending.

We as voters have elected each and every one of the County Commissioners based on the principle that the Commissioner we voted for in our district represented our beliefs and our vision for our county. Unfortunately we have 4 Commissioners that not only don’t want to represent our values, but they don’t even want to hear from us.

There is a group of concerned citizens who are seeking a referendum on the passage of these gross receipts tax increases. If enough Eddy County voters sign the referendum petition the gross receipts issue would go to a ballot for Eddy County voters to decide. I strongly support this effort and encourage all registered voters to come together in showing the power of the voters.

Richard Price