Letter To The Editor: UNM-LA Mil Levy – No Lies, Just Facts and Definitely Scary

By BRADY BURKE
Los Alamos

It is being suggested that my editorial piece (link), regarding the understatement of the UNM-LA Mil Levy, i.e. Property Tax Increase, is a misrepresentation and a scare tactic.

There are no lies.  he words are carefully chosen and exact. The statements correct. I have no control how someone interprets them. If they translate doubling ‘A’ property tax to doubling ‘YOUR’ property tax then the issue is not in my words.

The information about the Mil Levy comes straight from UNM-LA. There is an existing $1 Mil Levy for the UNM-LA campus. There is a request to implement a second $1 Mil Levy on the LAPS Bond ballot. If you now pay $100, that would go up to $200, if approved on this ballot. That is doubling.

The dollars are not hidden in percentages of totals. They are not minimized by relation to other places. Those are a common trick of those that play with numbers. A shell game, as it were. They will say let’s not look at the dollars, let’s look at the percentages. They will say let’s not look at how bad it is for you here, because it could be worse if you lived elsewhere. But these are our dollars. This is where we live. If you own a $300,000 piece of property, $100 in Mil Levy taxes becomes $200, plain and simple.

Let’s talk about scary. If I had an income far above the 5 to 6-figure threshold, I could afford to be philanthropic and philosophical about a tax increase. After all, at that level, $100 is walking around money, not a great portion of a week’s income. It’s a couple weeks of Starbucks coffee, not the week’s groceries. What it is, is the foundation for your next rent increase or your mortgage set-asides going up. Scary is someone minimizing what it costs to live in Los Alamos and saying that you can afford more taxes, because they can. And not taxes which directly benefit you, but money to be spent on an institution for the benefit of Northern New Mexico’s residents, including the ones footing the bill, the residents of Los Alamos.

That the County Public School Board would allow an inclusion of a Property Tax increase for UNM-LA along with their highly touted ‘No Tax Rate Increase’ Bond request is the height of fine print and misleading advertising. It harkens to a carnival sideshow. You know what it costs. You’re being told you have every chance to win. But if you stop and think about it, you know the winner is on the other side of the table and you will not be leaving with a prize.

Not surprising, I’m voting NO on the Mil Levy.

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