Letter To The Editor: Watch Out For Hidden Property Tax Increase In January

By BRADY BURKE
Los Alamos
 
Back in August 2013, UNM-LA tried, and FAILED, to stick the property owners of Los Alamos with an increase to their property taxes to pay for whatever the University wanted to spend it on. 
 
Now they want to try again by including a Mil Levy on the Los Alamos Public School Bond ballot in January, with the blessing of the Los Alamos Public School board.
 
UNM-LA wants the property owners of Los Alamos to foot the bill for their operation, maintenance, AND capital improvements through a Mil Levy. What’s worse is that the Los Alamos Public Schools is including it with their Bond election in January. This way, the Bond, which will not increase property taxes, will have another item on the election ballot that will increase taxes.
 
When LAPS tells you to get out and vote, and that their Bond issue will not increase taxes, they will not likely tell you that the UNM-LA Mil Levy will increase your property taxes and you will be paying for it every year from now on. Read the fine print when you are checking off boxes on your ballot.
 
So, what can the money be used for? Anything that falls under their definition of ‘meeting their education goals’. New vehicles? Sure, why fix the old ones? Travel to conferences in Hawaii? Why not? New computers for administration every year? The money will be flowing, go ahead. How about another building of empty classrooms to further reduce the existing parking? Easy to do.
 
Not on my dollar!
 
The University of New Mexico has many channels for raising money. They receive State funding. They get money from the Lottery. They have students who pay tuition. 
 
They have Alumni and the general public that make donations. Why then is our local school board prompting a local tax for a State facility? Does LAPS believe that we have so much excess money that they see fit for us to be taxed more and spend it on a few? Kind of them to ask us, as they seem to get money whenever they want it.
 
Los Alamos is not the only community that utilizes the UNM-LA campus. They have students from all over northern New Mexico. It may seem unfair to ask the starving students to cough up more money, but they are the ones benefiting from the facility. This is a Northern New Mexico college, so why are Los Alamos homeowners footing the bill in support of students from all over Norther New Mexico?
 
Granted, the University is convenient and a positive influence in our community, but so is having a Motor Vehicle office. I don’t think anyone would consider funding that State agency’s Los Alamos office out of local property taxes. The University is a State institution. If they need more money, have the State raise taxes overall and share the burden. See how well that goes over.
 
I don’t live on a fixed income, my concerns for those that do, but my income doesn’t go up so quickly that I think I have money to throw at any project that the County thinks is fair game.
 
Vote NO! to the UNM-LA Mil Levy in January. Maybe vote NO! on the Bond to tell LAPS to stop hiding tax increases in their ballots.
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