Morning Word

Tax & Rev Sends Out Incorrect Warnings to Taxpayers

State engineer announces retirement

Tax & Rev issues inaccurate warnings to taxpayers

An unspecified number of taxpayers who met the most recent filing deadline nonetheless this week received erroneous warnings from the state Taxation and Revenue Department, the state announced yesterday. According to a news release, some taxpayers who e-filed a tax return on April 30 received a letter saying their 2023 Personal Income Tax payments were late and would be assessed penalty and interest. The problem affected taxpayers who utilized the April 30 deadline, some of whom used TurboTax to file. According to Tax & Rev, Intuit is working directly with Tax & Rev on the issue. “Taxpayers who received the letter may check their bank accounts to see when their payments were drafted from their accounts. If their payment was drafted by the April 30 deadline, no penalty or interest is due. Intuit customers whose payment was drafted after the deadline will receive communication from Intuit, which is addressing the error,” the department says. Tax & Rev also encouraged state taxpayers to create an online account with the department at and said such accounts will always accurately reflect a taxpayer’s status. Regarding the false warning letter this week, Tax and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke issued an apology: “We sincerely apologize to taxpayers who received the penalty and interest letters erroneously. We know it likely caused some unnecessary anxiety, and we’re very sorry for that.”

State Engineer retiring

As a decision remains pending in the US Supreme Court regarding New Mexico, Colorado and Texas’ proposed consent decree over Rio Grande water management, State Engineer Mike Hamman this week announced his retirement, effective June 30. Hamman, who has supported the states’ agreement, first served as a water policy advisor for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham before taking the position as state engineer in February 2022. In a statement announcing his retirement, Hamman thanked the governor and characterized his role as state engineer as a “great honor and privilege,” adding: “My 42 years in public service primarily focused on New Mexico water issues where collaboration with all our communities have been the key in finding lasting solutions as we prepared for a more arid future. I consider serving as state engineer of our great state the pinnacle of my career and will continue to support efforts to improve New Mexico’s water security while giving more attention to our small family farm in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.” In addition to his work on the consent decree, highlights from Hamman’s tenure as cited in a news release include facilitating an agreement between water users in the Gallinas watershed to secure water for Las Vegas in the aftermath of the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire; convening and chairing the Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force, whose work included this report; and working with the Legislature last year to pass the Water Security Planning Act.

Three vie for county commission, district 2

  1. What was the median sales price for a single-family home in District 2 for Q1 of 2024, according to the Santa Fe Association of Realtors’ most recent statistics?
  2. How much daily water does the average Santa Fe County resident use?
  3. Name all of the elected offices in Santa Fe County government.
  4. What are Santa Fe County Health and Human Services Department’s plans for using new opioid settlement dollars? Bonus: Roughly how much did Santa Fe County budget for behavioral health services—many of which are related to growing opioid addiction—in 2023?
  5. According to the current Santa Fe County land use code, for what primary purposes shall proposed amendments to the land use text or map be considered?

These are the questions SFR posed this week to three candidates, all Democrats, running in the June 4 primary to replace Anna Hansen, who can’t run again due to term limits. Attorney Scott Fuqua; educator and community activist Lisa Cacari Stone; and former County Assessor Benito Martinez Jr. all hope to represent residents in the district covering the majority of the western portion of Santa Fe County, including Agua Fría and a slice of Las Campanas. See if you can answer the questions above and then check out how the candidates fared in this week’s Pop Quiz. Coming up next week: county clerk and district attorney candidates.

Confirmed: The Lost Bus filming here

We floated the rumor a few days ago in SFR’s “Bonus Features” movie section that the signs on Siringo Road near Santa Fe High School warning of film-production related smoke might be for The Lost Bus, a film starring Matthew McConaughey and America Ferrera about the 2018 Camp Fire that tore through Paradise, California. The state Film Office confirmed that rumor yesterday and announced the movie, directed by Paul Greengrass (who also directed the Tom Hanks’ vehicle News of the World, which also filmed here). Brad Ingelsby’s screenplay, the Film Office notes, is based on Washington Post staff writer Lizzie Johnson’s book Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire (the Film Office described the book as a novel, but it is not; Johnson was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle at the time of the fire and reported it first-hand). The film will “be told from the perspective of heroic bus driver Kevin McKay and schoolteacher Mary Ludwig, who helped navigate a bus full of children through a deadly wildfire as Paradise is caught in the destruction and chaos of the devastating wildfire” (true stories). The production will employ more than 2,500 New Mexicans: 480 crew members and 2,100 background talent, according to the state.

Listen up

The most recent episode of the University of New Mexico’s It’s (Probably) Not Rocket Science podcast delves into New Mexico’s abandoned hard rock and uranium mines, which “pollute nearby water, soil and air with radiation and create health problems in nearby communities,” and the UNM METALS Superfund Research Center, which is working to address and mitigate those health risks. Guests include Jose Cerrato, a professor and regents lecturer in UNM’s Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

Tacos FTW

No sooner had we finished reading Carmella Padilla’s gorgeous taco tribute for New Mexico Magazine that the news broke that the long-awaited new restaurant from Chef Fernando Ruiz, Escondido, is slated to finally open on July 1. And, yes, there will be tacos. But that’s not all. “I’ve got a steak dish, a fish dish, short ribs, a quail special with mole; there will always be a taco special and a ceviche special,” Ruiz tells SFR. The casual Mexican eatery co-founded by Ruiz and former Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek will also have a membership program—a trend in cities like New York, but possibly a first for Santa Fe. The tiered membership plan starts at Blanco ($100 per year), which comes with 10% off all food for everyone in your party every time you visit. At the top of the scale, the Anejo ($5,000 per year, with limited availability) garners participants the 10% off, plus early access to “elevated, immersive dinners” for four on the house once per year; a chef’s “special bite” on every visit; and a private party for six with Chef Ruiz once a year. The memberships are optional. “I think at that $100-a-year Blanco level—that could pay for itself within three visits,” Kadlubek says. “People will still be able to show up, though, and you can still just get the tacos.”

NM from afar

Waste Removal USA, a website we have not yet bookmarked, yesterday revealed the results of its survey ranking 130 “luxury landscapes” across the US, with just one New Mexico locale making the list (albeit in last place): Las Campanas. The survey queried 3,000 real estate professionals. Meanwhile, Travel & Leisure includes Taos in its list of the country’s 20 best mountains to visit, writing that “while New Mexico may not be the first place you think of for a mountain vacation” (particularly if you lack familiarity with geography), “Taos might just change your mind.” In addition to offering visitors access to skiing, hiking and rafting, “travelers can trek with llamas, take a hot-air balloon ride, or soak in the hot springs,” the story notes. We’ll wrap up with a link to Jim Redwine’s review of Santa Fe for Oklahoma’s Pawhuska Journal-Capital entitled “Peg and I recommend Santa Fe.” Jim and Peg visited recently and found in Santa Fe “the only thing more impressive than the countless painters and sculptors was the world-class cuisine.” Redwine notes “the sticker-shock of both art and food,” but says both “are worth it.” The couple checked out a few museums and dined with old friends at the Luminaria Restaurant at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. Redwine’s review ends with some of the more reasonable travel advice for Santa Fe we’ve read of late: “Bring your camera and your credit card.”

In measure rain thy joy

The National Weather Service forecasts a few days of stormy weather, with a 30% chance for precipitation today via scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon; otherwise, it should be partly sunny, with a high temperature near 56 degrees and southeast wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. The likelihood of rain increases to 80% on Saturday, when temps will remain in the mid 50s. Sunday should be mostly sunny, with a 30% chance for storms and thunderstorms after noon.

Thanks for reading! The Word has been sucked into watching card tricks on Instagram (H/T to Jerry Saltz’s recs in Vulture). Morning Word returns Tuesday, May 14.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.