Bill gives New Mexico tribe a tax break on land

A bill making its way through the New Mexico Legislature would give the Jicarilla Apache Nation would get a major tax break on the tribe's 32,000-acre ranch.

When the tribe bought the Lodge at Chama in 1995, it was initially valued at $2.1 million. The tax assessor in Rio Arriba County was treating the property as agricultural.

But the county reassessed the property at $21.3 million and said the ranch could no longer be considered agricultural because the tribe is using it as an elk habitat. Therefore, the property taxes would increase from $15,000 to more than $100,000.

The tribe challenged the hike but lost before the state Supreme Court. So House Speaker Ben Lujan, a Democrat, introduced House Bill 867 to provide a tax break for properties being used for elk or deer.

Get the Story:
Tax Bill Would Benefit Jicarilla (The Albuquerque Journal 3/11)

Court Decision:
Jicarilla Apache Nation v. Rio Arriba County Assessor (September 3, 2004)

Related Stories:
Court rules Jicarilla Apache Nation must pay tax (09/06)