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There’s hardly a town in New Mexico that isn’t affected by tourism, even if visitors are just passing through. And this was not a good year.
If you can agree with those two statements, maybe you can agree that there is such a thing as a good tax. I would define a good tax as one with a specific, desirable goal that takes a small bite and inflicts minimal pain.
The tourism folks are hoping lawmakers see their proposal that way.
Tourism Secretary Mike Cerletti, an industry veteran, has proposed a tax of one quarter of one percent on restaurant and banquet food. He figures this tax will generate around $6 million a year that could be spent on marketing and advertising.
The hit on consumers would be 2.5 cents for every $10 spent in restaurants. Of course, the lodging trade group likes the idea. Its restaurant counterpart does too, provided the revenues are earmarked for tourism.
Presently, New Mexico spends $2.6 million a year to promote itself. Arizona spends $6 million, Utah spends $7 million, Colorado spends $15 million. And Texas, the attention hog, spends $24 million. Compared to the Lone Star State, we’re the prettier girl in the dime-store dress.
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