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Gov. signs PID bill as new law

A bill aimed at protecting future homeowners from a Mariposa-style tax nightmare has received the governor’s signature.

Gov. Susana Martinez’s office announced Wednesday that she signed House Bill 371 sponsored by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho.

The bill includes requirements for greater disclosure to homeowners who buy properties in developments designated as Public Improvement Districts, or PIDs.

The PID process allows developers to issue bonds backed by tax payments from property owners to pay for community infrastructure such as roads and water systems.

“This bill will provide greater transparency and ensure that potential property owners have all the information they need in order to avoid a massive, unexpected tax hike,” the governor said, in a release.

Harper’s bill also limits the amount of bonds that can be issued and the payments levied on property owners.

Harper sponsored the bill after talking with residents of Mariposa who were faced with a tenfold increase in their PID payments when developer High Desert Investment Corp. pulled out, leaving them responsible for $16 million in bonds.

The bill won’t affect Mariposa homeowners. The board that oversees the Mariposa PID has been working to find ways to mitigate the burden for homeowners and a lawyer who represents the bondholders recently told the Journal he is organizing a meeting April 25 at Rio Rancho City Hall where he will discuss proposals to restructure the Mariposa bonds.

The governor has also signed House Bill 352, which requires the state to require companies that receive taxpayer-funded incentives for economic development projects to repay those funds if they fail to meet the stated target for the number of jobs created.

Harper’s district includes the Hewlett-Packard customer support center in Rio Rancho’s City Center. HP received about $2.2 million in land and infrastructure incentives from the city, promising it would have 1,350 employees by the end of 2012. Instead, it had 860 employees and recently announced that 200 of those jobs would be cut by Oct. 31.
— This article appeared on page 28 of the Albuquerque Journal