New Mexico’s taxation agency has ordered Santa Fe County to exempt property taxes on land that was part of the original Pojoaque (poh-WAH’-kay) Pueblo land grant, removing $10 million worth of property from the county tax rolls. The property includes the 139-acre La Mesita Ranch bought by the pueblo in 2008.
The Pueblo sought exemptions, saying the area was once part of its original land grant and should be treated like other pueblo-owned land within the grant’s boundaries. The county originally denied the request because the land had been out of pueblo hands for nearly 100 years.
Taxation Secretary Rick Homans says federal law prohibits state and local governments from taxing tribal property.
This decision might be in conflict with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case called Sherrill. That case raises similar issues but of course in a different factual and historical setting.