Horse owners in eastern New Mexico can look forward to a tax break this year due to an oversight by the New Mexico Livestock Board.
Due to an accounting error, there will be no livestock board tax on horses in New Mexico for 2008 — horse owners will have to pay local and state property taxes.
The error will cost the livestock board $72,000 toward the 2009 budget, which is $6 million, said Myles Culbertson, executive director of the livestock board.
“This error will not affect our services, but it will reduce our budget,” Culbertson said. “We have a large budget but every dollar is spoken for.”
Culbertson said the services the livestock board provides are the inspection of livestock brand registering and issuing of identification papers for horses during sales and purchases.
There are 218 horses in Curry County on the livestock tax roll, 916 in Quay County and 631 in Roosevelt County.
Registering horses on the tax roll is voluntary, Culbertson said
The idea of not paying taxes might put a smile on many people’s faces, but not everyone was optimistic about the idea.
Wendy Toombs and her husband Ray, who operate a horseback riding school for children and adults in Portales viewed it from both sides of the fence.
“It is a twofold situation when it comes to taxes,” Wendy Toombs said. “Taxes support so many services, but there needs to be some accountability on how the money is used.”
The livestock board provides a lot of services that are essential for livestock owners, Wendy Toombs said.
Some ranchers in eastern New Mexico think that there will not be much difference without the tax.
The lack of the tax should not affect most ranchers in our area, said Jim Frank Richardson of San Jon.
Areas, such as Ruidoso where they raise horses for racing, might see a larger impact but everyday ranchers will not be affected, Richardson said.
Richardson said he has used the services provided by the livestock board to acquire papers to transport horses across district lines and for inspections when selling a horse.
Along with the inspection and documentation the livestock board acts as a branding registry.
“That registered brand makes it difficult for someone to try and steal or take our horses,” Wendy Toombs said.