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Just a Little Too Convenient

It wasn’t that long ago that the City of Albuquerque tried to sneak a tax past unsuspecting Albuquerqueans. Unfortunately for the city, an uproar ensued, and the sleight of hand met a much warranted timely demise.

Apparently, some members of the Bernalillo County Commission learned nothing (subscription) from the Albuquerque experience:

Bernalillo County commissioners this week will consider imposing an open-space tax to help make up for a proposal left off the ballot last year.

Voters in November were supposed to decide whether to continue a tax to fund the acquisition and maintenance of open-space lands, but the question wasn’t included on the ballot— the result of an “administrative error,” a spokeswoman said.

The property tax generates about $2 million a year and amounts to around $8 a year on a $100,000 home. Voters approved the tax in 1998 and 2000, but it’s set to expire this summer.

The county is now considering whether to enact an open-space tax without voter approval.

The proposal would impose a tax smaller than what has been in place. It would amount to around $3 a year for a $100,000 home and generate $1 million annually.

If county commissioners take no action— or reject the latest proposal— revenue from the existing tax will dry up this summer.

County Commission Chairman Alan Armijo said he plans to support the tax measure.

On second thought, this is worse than the sleight of hand that the city tried to pull. Commissioner Alan Armijo actually wants us to reward incompetence with a tax increase. But, that’s not the most offensive part. This is:

The tax proposal isn’t as big as what’s been in place because the county wants to start small for now and “look at a bigger package in the future,” Armijo said.

I believe in the used car business this is known as the bait and switch.