***DELAY GRT INCREASE FOR HOLY CROSS HOSPITAL***
We need a Health Needs Assessment done before ANY ADDITIONAL MONEY via taxes is voted on by the County Commissioners. The Community deserves input into what services the Hospital offers and how they offer them. We also need an independent evaluation of Hospital and Administration performance and more transparency. The County Commissioners have a public meeting for community comments on March 10th at 9 AM, before they are scheduled to increase the GRT. If you live within Taos County, please sign the petition, then pass it on to your neighbors and friends, and come to the meeting on March 10th at 9 AM.:
Sign the petition.
Facts about Public Financing of Holy Cross Hospital
[excerpts of My Turn – Taos News March 5th, 2020- Marjorie Luckey]
1) HCH needs financial support, but money alone will not assure its survival.
2) The appropriate amount of a subsidy cannot be determined without more transparency by the hospital and an independent analysis of the health needs of the community, the hospital’s performance in meeting those needs and the market forces which threaten its survival; and
3) the current level of public oversight is inadequate for receipt of public money. This must be fixed as a condition for tax support.
The $1.46 million/year from the one-mill levy passed by the voters in 2016 combined with a $3 million/year boost in income since becoming a Critical Access Hospital, has lifted the hospital out of the red and into operating with a small profit. However, cash reserves for emergencies remain unacceptably low, critical equipment is reaching the end of its expected life, expensive repairs of the aging infrastructure are expected and the mill levy expires in June 2020. While Mr. Patton has said that there is no risk of the hospital closing, a reduction in services is possible without continued county support.
Both the mill levy on property and higher gross receipts taxes are particularly burdensome for the most vulnerable within in a County already struggling with poverty, 10,000+ households unable to pay their property taxes, more than 500 families lining up every week at food pantries in order to eat and everyone paying some of the highest gross receipt taxes, food prices and housing costs in the State. This is why the County must keep taxes as low as possible while making certain that every tax dollar is spent for the maximum benefit of its people. Instead, the County seems to be moving ahead without all the information needed to verify that money given to the hospital will be spent on its and the community’s most essential needs.
An independent analysis of community needs and hospital performance, more transparency, and the addition of 1-2 independently appointed board members to serve as the public’s representatives would go a long way to foster trust and regain community support. This will be required not only to pass the mill levy in November, but to ensure the long-term survival of a thriving hospital.
6 hour-plus waits to cast ballots. Critical infrastructure going down. Lines stretching around blocks, even outside of peak hours. Online disinformation targeting vulnerable voters. Many eligible voters were left wondering if they’d even be able to vote — or if doing so was worth the wait.
The truth is — our systems were overwhelmed, during a primary election, in only a quarter of states. If we don’t have a plan to fix that before November, we could see a large-scale failure — disenfranchising many of our fellow Americans.
And that’s not all — we’re up against a deliberate strategy of vote suppression. Texas, which had some of the worst problems last night, has closed 750 polling places since 2012.  Worse, the GOP has just announced a $10 million legal strategy to block voting rights lawsuits and protect discriminatory moves like this.