Intel Looses A Friend In The Sandoval County Tax Department

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Sandoval County Manager has been fired over an Intel Tax Dispute.

Sandoval County Manager Juan Vigil was fired Friday following a property tax dispute with computer giant Intel.
As a result of resolving that dispute, the household-name international company that opened its Rio Rancho plant more than 30 years ago will have to pay property taxes for the first time this year.
County Commission Chairman Darryl Madalena hand-delivered a one-page letter to Vigil on Friday that told him to vacate his office and return all county property by 4 p.m. Monday.
Vigil did not respond to a phone message asking for comment.
Earlier this week, Vigil provided documents, which he said were unofficial, that showed the county assessed Intel’s Rio Rancho plant property at $38.2 million, with a taxable value of $12.7 million.
Jami Grindatto, Intel’s director of corporate affairs for the Southwestern U.S. said this week the company was happy to go on the county tax rolls and the county assessor is determining how much tax the company will owe.
In an interview on Friday, Madalena said the reason for firing Vigil was that the county needed to “move in a different, more positive direction.”

Update 04/19/2011: I was confused by this article on the first read. I thought they fired the County Manager becasue he didn’t want to tax Intel. It appears that the now fired county manager had completed the paperwork to proceed with taxing Intel, thus he was fired. So the new direction the commission wants to move in is the old direction, where Intel doesn’t get taxed. This firing has apparently caused a big problem for the commission to continue working.

“Move in a different, more positive direction” means corporations need to pay more taxes. This is at a time when there are rumors that Intel is looking to expand the Rio Rancho site after they announced a new Fab in Arizona and no doubt the tax situation has something to do with that (note: as an Intel employee, I only know the same rumors that are reported in the news papers). It’s also important to remember that states compete with each other and another state will be happy to make Intel a better deal.

The article goes on about how Intel has spent millions to build things like Rio Rancho High School. The article doesn’t mention that the city of Rio Rancho was an overgrown truck stop before Intel decided to employ thousands of the most highly paid positions (not including government) in the state of New Mexico. Meanwhile the Village of Corrales is trying to stop any attempt at Intel expanding because they think Intel is killing them with pollution.

Someone will email me in a panic that Intel will shut down the Rio Rancho site because of this news. I think Intel is far from making this happen. But this is not something that will encourage Intel to expand the site or make further upgrades making the long term future of the site questionable. Refer to why Tesla didn’t build a factory in Albuquerque, because California made them a better deal.

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