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Gross receipts tax on purchases by labs not guaranteed

SANTA FE, N.M. — As New Mexico lawmakers debate possible changes to the state’s tax structure, one concern is whether purchases made by national laboratories in the state will continue to result in gross receipts of tax revenue.

Data presented to lawmakers shows the for-profit consortium that currently manages Los Alamos National Laboratory has paid between $48 million and $100 million a year in gross receipts taxes.

Some of that money went to the state to pay for education and other government services. Another portion was distributed to local governments in and around the lab.

In 2015, the most recent year for data, $76 million was collected and $22 million of that stayed with state government. The rest was distributed to local governments, including the city and county of Santa Fe, Rio Arriba County and tribal governments. Los Alamos County gained the largest share, some $20 million a year, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported .

The Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory Communities, a consortium of nine governments in Northern New Mexico that rely on Los Alamos National Laboratory services, is asking the Legislature to protect a revenue stream that helps fund police, fire, public transportation, housing and economic development programs.

“If the Legislature does not adopt this, there will be a massive loss of GRT, not just to Los Alamos but to the people of the region,” Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales told lawmakers.

Andrea Romero, director of the coalition, said the federal government would honor mandatory tax payments as it does today, and remit the gross receipts tax outside of any program costs as a pass-through expense. Taxing a new nonprofit contractor would not take away from laboratory programs, cleanup work or its employees, she said.

The contract for Sandia National Laboratories recently was awarded to a subsidiary of Honeywell, and that firm will continue to pay some $65 million a year in gross receipts taxes to state and local governments.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,