In 2016 Holy Cross Hospital asked the community to come together in support of our local hospital and vote to approve a 1 mill levy on property tax. The mill levy was approved with resounding support. The 2016 mill levy sunsets in June of this year, and we have begun conversations with the County Commissioners with the hope of maintaining the current mill levy.
On a national level, rural hospitals are struggling with many of the same issues we experience here in Taos. The issues we faced in 2016 continue to worsen for Holy Cross and many other rural hospitals around the country. Many rural hospitals operate at a negative margin, which means they lose money. Without tax support they would not be able to keep their doors open. Many rural hospitals in New Mexico receive much more tax support than Holy Cross Medical Center. For instance, Rio Arriba County has a 4.25 mill levy in place that supports Presbyterian hospital in Española. That is more than four times the tax support HCMC receives. For a list of healthcare related taxes click here.
For several months, Holy Cross Medical Center has had discussions with the Taos County Commissioners regarding renewal of the 2016 mill levy. Without action, the 1 mill that was put in place in 2016 will expire in June, and Holy Cross Hospital will stop receiving the much-needed funding. HCMC originally approached the commissioners to request a renewal of the current mill levy as well as an increase of 3.25 mills. After much discussion, the commissioners decided that they would not ask the public to vote for an increased mill levy. The commission has instead decided to put the renewal of the 1 mill on the ballot in November. If the mill levy renewal is voted for in November, tax funds will not be available until late 2021.
What is a Mill Levy?
A mill levy is a property tax that the county collects from landowners. 1 mill of property tax costs landowners roughly $33 for every $100,000 of property valuation. The 1 mill that was in place for healthcare services in Taos County equaled about $1.4 million dollars a year (gross). To date we have spent $2,933,524.56 of the taxes collected since 2016.
In an effort to provide additional funding to Holy Cross (beyond the dollars available from the mill levy), the County Commission is currently in discussion about a possible gross receipts tax (GRT), the proceeds of which would be directed to Holy Cross. The commission is discussing the possibility of adding a 1/8 and a 1/16 GRT. The 1/8 tax would collect around $900,000 per year and the 1/16 tax would collect around $450,000 per year. The commission has not decided if they will choose to allocate how the funds are used and it is possible that they will split them between operations and capital spending. At the earliest, this tax will go in to effect on July 1st 2020 and we would see the resulting revenue in September.
You Can Help!
We are asking that employees do their best to understand our current situation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to administration with questions. The best thing you can do as an employee, is reach out to your County Commissioners and tell them know how important this issue is. Your voice counts! Talk to your friends and family. Let them know what these tax options mean, and how important they are for our community and for Holy Cross Medical Center.
The hospital has made many great improvements over the last ten years. Financially we look better now than we have in the past seven years and, with your help, we will continue to offer great services to a great community!