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Democrats find taxes very taxing

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Some Democrats are destined for problems in the June primaries. There are certain taxes that Democrats just can’t touch. The first untouchable came along in 1935, during the Great Depression.

Democrats had gained control of the statehouse by that time and devoted a major legislative session to fixing the state’s tax system. Many of our state’s tax laws date back, or refer back, to that 1935 session.

The major consideration was the property tax, called an ad valorem tax, on the value of the property. In New Mexico, many poor owned property. The property had been given to the people, rather than to businesses, by the Spanish crown.

Those who managed to keep from losing their property to shyster lawyers from the East wanted to ensure they didn’t lose it through continued arcane tax laws because they didn’t or couldn’t pay.

For that reason, New Mexico has always had low personal property taxes. If you don’t believe that, I’ll bet you never have owned property in another state. As a result New Mexico doesn’t even bother collecting much property tax at the state level. It is a local tax.


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