Voters in Rio Rancho voted to keep a gross receipts tax in place for higher education in a special election held Tuesday. The Municipal Higher Education Facilities Gross Receipts Tax would have been reduced from one-fourth of one percent to one-eighth of a percent.

The vote means Rio Rancho will continue to support the expansion of four-year education in the city, as residents voted against a cut to the city’s higher education tax in the special election.

"We are thankful that the citizens of Rio Rancho voted to continue supporting our investment in higher education at UNM West," UNM President Robert G. Frank said. "Our goal has been to help our students on this campus succeed and to keep this community's economy growing. The voters in Rio Rancho share our vision. We appreciate their support and look forward to working with our partners on the west side to make that happen." 

The unofficial vote total was 2,480 in favor of the cut and 3,611 opposed. Not quite 11 percent (6,091) of the city's 56,859 registered voters cast a ballot.

"This renewal of Rio Rancho’s commitment to higher education strengthens our own resolve to develop UNM West into everything it can be for the community and its students," said UNM West CEO Wynn Goering.

UNM and Central New Mexico Community College recently announced a collaboration on a new building housing science and technology courses between the two campuses in Rio Rancho. The public is invited to a "visioning charrette," the first step in that planning process, on Aug. 29, 1:30 – 3 p.m., at the CNM Rio Rancho campus.Originally, Rio Rancho voters passed the 20-year higher education facilities sales tax in 2008. The money collected from the tax goes into an account to be used only for buildings and infrastructure for four-year universities.

The election results will be certified on Aug. 23.