ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Taxes in Bernalillo County are about to going up — and we’re not talking just for people who live here, but for anyone who buys anything here.
County Commissioners voted Tuesday evening to increase gross receipts taxes county-wide. They say with the budget crises, it may be the only way to keep jobs and services.
The next time you buy just about anything in Bernalillo County, you may be paying more — 18 cents more for every $100 spent.
“For a lot of people that doesn’t maybe sound like a lot, as you add that up over time, throughout a year, throughout every dollar you spend, it can be quite burdensome on all taxpayers,” Commissioner Lonnie Talbert said.
Commissioner Talbert and fellow county commissioners will decide if they’ll have to resort to a three-sixteenths of a cent tax hike.
Commissioner Talbert, a Republican, says he’s not sold on the hike. He wants to make sure the county has done everything it can to tighten its belt before resorting to this.
“The last thing I want to do is burden the taxpayers we do have who are working with more costs until we feel fully comfortable and confident that we’ve worked through every opportunity,” Commissioner Talbert said.
So what do residents think? Those KRQE News 13 talked to are OK with it.
“I’m OK with it as long as people can keep their jobs,” Kimberly Peper said.
“This is something that’s gonna affect everybody just a little bit, but if you have enough people sort of getting affected it’ll have a big impact and that’s the idea of taxes is for everyone to chip in,” Arturo Lemos said.
Commissioners say there’s been a lot of talk about this issue, and it’s unclear if the measure has enough votes to pass.
Tuesday, Commissioner Talbert voted against the hike.
“When you have challenges with budget, you have to make hard decisions,” he said.
Commissioner Wayne Johnson also voted against the hike. Commissioners Debbie O’Malley, Steven Michael Quezada and Maggie Hart Stebbins voted for it.
The tax increase will kick in starting in July and raise about $30 million per year. The tax will not apply to groceries.
The last time the city raised the gross receipts tax was in 2015, by a similar amount.
Right now, people shopping in unincorporated areas of the county pay 6.25 percent, and because Albuquerque has its own taxes, people pay 7.31 percent in city limits.