2.8% is Santa Fe’s current property tax rate, which is significantly lower than rates in other cities around the state.
$7.7 was the size of the budget gap the city faced this year, but city officials refused to raise property taxes to fill the gap.
" To hear that transit cuts would even be on the table is shocking to people."—Tomás Rivera, executive director of Chainbreaker Collective
On June 24, the night before Corazón announced its closure, the now-defunct venue hosted a victory party for Keep Santa Fe Working, a coalition that successfully blocked attempts to raise city bus fees this year.
The group includes members of Chainbreaker Collective, a cooperative that builds new bikes out of old ones, and the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees branch. KSFW formed when the Santa Fe City Council considered raising bus fares, imposing furloughs on city employees and cutting salaries to plug a $7.7 million deficit.
The idea that a city with such a rich liberal history would consider such cuts outraged Tomás Rivera, Chainbreaker’s executive director.
“It’s not right for the city to balance the budget on the backs of working people,” Rivera tells SFR.
Rivera says the solution is simple: Raise property taxes. At 2.8 percent, Santa Fe’s property tax rate is significantly lower than rates in Las Cruces (5.1 percent) and Albuquerque (6.5 percent).
The coalition proposed to raise Santa Fe’s rate to 4.1 percent, still low enough to keep it “at the bottom of the list,” Rivera says. He and others collected more than 2,000 signatures from residents endorsing the plan.
Mayor David Cross and four city councilors sided with the rate change, but only until a different stopgap measure emerged. That measure involved dipping into the city’s reserve funds, a move that helped city officials avoid the stigma of raising taxes.
Although the proposed cuts were prevented, Rivera sees them coming back on the table next year. He plans to press the city again.
“We intend to keep this coalition strong,” he says.