Rep. Joseph Sanchez
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
District 40 Rep. Joseph Sanchez said Tuesday that the goal of House Memorial 63 it to promote fairness and equity to the entire region and not to hurt Los Alamos County.
The memorial requests that any taxation task force convened this year by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham or the Legislature research and develop legislative recommendations and alternatives that can promote more equitable regional tax distributions from Los Alamos National Laboratory or other federal research facilities in the state.
“Times have changed, and a large bulk of LANL employees live off the hill in the surrounding valleys and communities. Existing and past employees who reside off the hill have helped build, support and make LANL the amazing institution it is today,” Sanchez told the Los Alamos Reporter. “The tax equity issue has been raised in the Valley for a long time and in my recent election bid was consistently brought up.”
Sanchez said after receiving this feedback he felt that this was an opportune time to investigate the current tax law, especially since the House was about to the LANL gross receipts bill (SB 11) that he personally voted for.
“I would support tax reform and I would also like for this issue to be investigated as part of any effort brought forth. Again, my goal is to promote fairness and equity, not to hurt Los Alamos County,” he said.
HM 63 notes that LANL annually purchases more than $420 million in goods and services from suppliers in the state or more than 45 percent of its total purchases. It says the Lab awarded $269 million in small business contracts in 20i8 and paid more than $1 billion in salaries, all of which has a direct impact on the state’s economy each year.
“Los Alamos National Laboratory’s operations and construction have resulted in over $80 million in gross receipts tax revenues annually for the state since 2006 and have also resulted in $3.1 billion in annual total impact on economic output across New Mexico from 2015 to 2017,” the memorial says.
It notes that Northern New Mexico communities and residents built and have maintained the facilities since LANL’s inception and are an indispensable component of the current workforce.
“The majority of (LANL) employees live outside of Los Alamos County, with approximately 55 percent of LANL employees residing in the surrounding counties, and the operations of the Laboratory impact all of Northern New Mexico,” the memorial states.
The memorial says there are current legislative efforts to tax LANL regardless of whether the Laboratory was to become a nonprofit entity and that the local revenue distribution from the LANL gross receipts tax currently paid to the state greatly benefits Los Alamos County and does not benefit the rest of Northern New Mexico. It states that the communities outside Los Alamos County contribute greatly to the success of LANL and that the importance of equitable regional tax distribution on communities and workforces outside Los Alamos County must continue to be examined.
The memorial also asks that the Legislative Finance Committee and the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee study the issue in the event no taxation task force is commissioned in 2019.