Report: New Mexico K-12 Funding Still Well Below Pre-Recession Levels

Adjusting for inflation, enrollment growth puts per-pupil spending down 14 percent

May 22, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—Funding levels for New Mexico’s K-12 public school system have still not recovered from budget cuts made during the peak of the recession. The education operating budget was 10 percent lower in the 2013-14 school year than it was before the recession, when adjusted for inflation.

The picture is even worse when accounting for growth in student enrollment. The operating budget on a per-pupil, inflation-adjusted rate was 14 percent lower in 2012-13 than it was before the recession. These are among the findings in a new report by New Mexico Voices for Children.

“We keep hearing a different story from Santa Fe, but the numbers show us that even before adjusting for inflation, the operating budget is more than $100 million lower than it was in 2008-09,” said Gerry Bradley, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst for NM Voices for Children, and report author. “When you adjust for inflation, we’re more than $300 million behind where we were five years ago.”

Early in the recession, federal funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) helped cushion the K-12 budget, although the extra funding did not entirely balance the overall cuts. Meanwhile, student enrollment was trending upward.

“Spending cuts during the recession compromised the state’s ability to educate its children,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of NM Voices. “Too many teaching positions were lost, which lead to larger class size. Research shows that children in poverty are the most negatively impacted by large class size. Children in large classes don’t get the extra or individualized attention they need to be successful. We need to step up and not just fund public education at pre-recession levels, but we need to make greater investments in our children, and finish what we started by fully funding New Mexico’s successful Pre-K program. Giving our children a strong start will ensure our children will be reading by 3rd grade and increase their likelihood of graduating on time.” Dr. García added.

The full report, New Mexico Public School Funding: Still Well Below Pre-Recession Levels, and an executive summary are available online at: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/k-12-funding-rpt-5-14-web.pdf and http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/k-12-funding-rpt-5-14-exec-sum-web.pdf.

Download this press release here (pdf)

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 New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

 

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Report: NM has Made Third Largest Higher Ed Spending Cuts since Recession

Despite Increases, NM Still Funding Higher Ed at Pre-Recession Levels

May 1, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE— New Mexico has cut higher education expenditures by $4,588 per student since 2008, when adjusted for inflation. Only two states—Louisiana and Hawaii—made deeper cuts. And New Mexico is one of the 48 states still spending less per student on higher education than before the recession.

These are among the findings of a report released today by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The report’s authors believe such cuts could jeopardize the nation’s economic future, as fewer adults will have the opportunity to earn college degrees.

As a result of these cuts, tuition at New Mexico’s four-year universities has increased by more than 25 percent since fiscal year 2008 on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis.

“This is not the direction a state with one of the highest poverty rates should be taking—not if we want New Mexicans to have the opportunity to raise their standards of living for themselves and their families,” said Amber Wallin, MPA, a policy analyst with New Mexico Voices for Children. “These deep cuts have led to the depletion of the state’s lottery scholarship fund, which is in real jeopardy if lawmakers fail to come up with a sustainable fix.”

While a handful of states continue to cut higher education spending, most—including New Mexico—have begun reversing the trend. Between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, New Mexico increased higher education spending by just over 5 percent, on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis.

“This funding increase is a start, but we still have a long way to go,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D, executive director of NM Voices. “Ensuring that New Mexicans can earn college degrees not only helps our state’s economy and ability to attract high-wage jobs, it also significantly improves child well-being. Not only do parents with college educations earn better money, but their children are more likely to do better in school than children whose parents did not pursue college.”

The CBPP report is available online at: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4135.

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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Report: State Corporate Income Tax Revenue Eroding

Important Revenue Source Helps Stabilize Often Erratic General Fund Growth

April 14, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—Changes in the state’s corporate income tax (CIT) structure during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions are causing New Mexico’s CIT revenue to erode. This important revenue source helps stabilize the state’s general fund, which has had erratic growth in recent years, according to a report released today.

“Almost all of the states collect corporate income tax, and although in New Mexico it represents less than 5 percent of the total revenue pie, it’s an important revenue source,” said Gerry Bradley, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst for New Mexico Voices for Children, and report author. “But if we continue to undermine it, it will cease to be a meaningful source of revenue,” he added.

The child advocacy group is releasing the report in early April to make a point. “April is when people think about their personal income taxes. What many don’t realize it that how much you pay in income and other taxes is dependent on how much is raised by other revenue sources, like corporate income taxes,” said James Jimenez, Director of Policy, Research, and Advocacy Integration for NM Voices. “The more we cut sources like corporate taxes—which we’ve been doing a lot of in New Mexico—the more we have to collect from individuals and working families to make up the difference. It’s that or shortchange our public schools, health care, and public safety services,” he added.

About two-thirds of all CIT revenue is paid by three industries: mining, manufacturing, and management of companies. Manufacturing CIT is expected to drop off as legislation passed in 2013 comes on line. Whether this will impact the number of manufacturers operating in New Mexico or the size of their workforces remains to be seen.

“Blanket tax cuts make for dubious economic development tools,” said Jimenez. “Tax deals that fail to contain trigger mechanisms or accountability measures are very likely doing the state more harm than good. Real economic development is tied to investments in an educated workforce, infrastructure, and other measures that improve the quality of life. We can’t afford those investments if we’re giving away the farm in tax breaks.”

The report, “The Corporate Income Tax: A Declining but Essential Part of New Mexico State Revenues,” also looks at industries by income bracket, income tax returns, and income tax receipts. It is available online at: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CIT-report-4-14-web.pdf. The executive summary is available at: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CIT-report-exec-sum-4-14.pdf.

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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KIDS COUNT Report: Nation Must Address Racial/ Ethnic Disparities among Children as Population Becomes More Diverse

Advocates: New Mexico Should Take Lead on Creating Opportunity for All Children

April 1, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—As national demographics change, white children are expected to be in the minority by 2018. New Mexico is well ahead of the national curve on that measure, with the second-largest share of racial/ethnic minority children in the 50 states (74 percent). The negative effects of centuries of discriminatory policies and practices are still felt by racial and ethnic minorities. For children, these impacts include barriers to opportunity that lead to health disparities, and achievement gaps in educational attainment and later economic well-being.

The new policy report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation April 1, unveils a new index which compares children’s progress on key milestones, and across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels.

Using a single composite score placed on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest), nationally Asian and Pacific Islander have the highest index score at 776, followed by white children at 704. Scores for Latino (404), American-Indian (387) and African-American (345) children are distressingly lower.

In New Mexico, Asian and Pacific Islander children also have the highest index score at 728, followed by white children at 634. Hispanic (363), Native American (293), and African-American (446) children have the lowest index scores, although New Mexico’s Black children score higher than the national average for Black children.

“Racial disparities occur due to barriers to the kinds of opportunities that kids need in order to thrive and reach their full potential, much in the same way that poverty holds children back,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a KIDS COUNT grantee. “It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. And until we face that fact with a comprehensive plan to mitigate these barriers, New Mexico is destined for a dim future.”

The Race for Results Index is based on 12 key indicators that determine if children are on the path to success in each stage of life. Index indicators are grouped into four categories—early childhood, education and early work, family supports, and neighborhood context. 

“This first-time index shows that many in our next generation, especially kids of color, are off track in many issue areas and in nearly every region of the country,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation. “Race for Results is a call to action that requires serious and sustained attention from the private, nonprofit, philanthropic, and government sectors to create equitable opportunities for children of color, who will play an increasingly large role in our nation’s well-being and prosperity.”

Just 26 percent of New Mexico’s children are non-Hispanic whites. Only one other state—Hawaii—has a smaller share of white children (13 percent) than New Mexico. California, with 27 percent white children, is a close third. Along with our high percentage of children who are racial/ethnic minorities, New Mexico also has one of the highest child poverty rates and is ranked lowest in the nation for child well-being.

Race for Results is yet another wake-up call to our state, local, and civic leaders to take action now to improve the lives of our children and families,” said Dr. García. “No job is more important or urgent than ensuring that all our children are on the path to success. Our future depends upon it.”

The Race for Results report and index will be available online at http://bit.ly/1fXcHER.
A fact sheet for New Mexico is available online at http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NM-fact-sheet.pdf.
More data are available at the Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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KIDS COUNT is a program of New Mexico Voices for Children and is made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity, and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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President’s Plan to Boost Tax Credits Would Help Low-Income New Mexicans

March 6, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Plan would make 2009 improvements permanent, expand credit to childless workers

ALBUQUERQUE—Almost 215,000 New Mexico children have benefitted every year from improvements made in 2009 to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, according to a factsheet released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Unless Congress makes those changes permanent, they will expire in 2017 and 8,600 children will likely be thrust back into poverty.

Making the 2009 changes permanent is one of the proposals in President Obama’s 2015 budget, which was released this week. The President also calls for Congress to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) so that it benefits more childless workers. That plan would make 93,000 New Mexico workers newly eligible for the credit or eligible for a larger credit in 2015.

New Mexico is one of 25 states that offers a state-level tax credit that supplements the EITC. The New Mexico Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is worth 10 percent of the federal EITC, so any expansion of the EITC will raise the value of the WFTC as well.

“These tax credits for low-income working families are an excellent poverty-fighting tool and New Mexico is wise to have a state-level credit,” said James Jimenez, Director of Policy, Research, and Advocacy Integration at New Mexico Voices for Children. “Legislation that would have increased the value of the Working Families Tax Credit was considered during the 2014 session, but unfortunately was not passed.”

Raising the EITC credit for childless workers would increase the credit for someone working full time at the minimum wage from its current $22 to $542. Childless workers with earnings at the poverty level would see their EITC increased from $171 to $841.

The CBPP factsheet is available online at http://apps.cbpp.org/3-5-14tax/?state=NM

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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Child Advocacy Group Receives Multi-Year Grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

March 3, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico Voices for Children has been awarded a three-year $900,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to continue its work to improve the well-being of New Mexico’s children. The grant is for overall operations support. Recently the child advocacy organization’s work has included making KIDS COUNT data more central to their work on state fiscal policy, and advocating for policy proposals outlined in the NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us policy agenda to improve child well-being.

“The Kellogg Foundation has been one of the most abiding, consistent, and generous funders of our work and we are grateful for their continued support,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of NM Voices. “Over the past decade their support has been critical to our ability to work on state tax and budget issues, and the impact those policies have on working families and their children. The Kellogg Foundation’s support has also allowed us to better focus on racial and ethnic disparities, and opportunity and achievement gaps, which are important issues in a state where 75 percent of the children are racial or ethnic minorities and our child poverty rate is so high,” Dr. García added.

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 New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

KIDS COUNT is a program of, and is funded by, the Baltimore, Maryland-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.

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Report: Minimum Wage Raise Would Help Women, Hispanics

As a worker’s rights issue, wage protection is appropriate addition to NM constitution

February 5, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—If the statewide minimum wage was raised to $8.50 an hour—as currently proposed in Senate Joint Resolution 13 (SJR-13)—it would impact more than 91,000 workers outside of the city of Santa Fe and Bernalillo County (which already have  minimum wages at $8.50 or higher). Such an increase would put almost $50 million in their pockets, and most of that money would be spent right here in the local economy. That’s one of the conclusions of a report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children.

Such a raise would impact more women than men, more Hispanics than Whites, and more full-time workers than part-time. Surprisingly, the largest share of workers impacted by the raise are adults between the ages of 20 and 29, and the largest sector to be impacted is education/health care.

“People have lots of misperceptions about minimum wage workers, but this report dispels them,” said Gerry Bradley, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst for NM Voices and report author. “We can no longer consider minimum wage jobs as ‘entry level.’ Too many middle-wage jobs have disappeared and been replaced by low-wage service sector jobs,” he added.

The report also notes that 21 states have minimum wages higher than the federal and ten are indexed to rise with inflation. SJR-13 also includes this indexing provision. If passed, SJR-13 would allow the voters to decide on the wage raise by amending the state constitution, which some lawmakers have criticized. “Five states address the minimum wage in their constitutions,” said Bradley. “It makes perfect sense given that the minimum wage is a worker’s rights issue. That makes it a human rights issue and entirely appropriate for the state constitution.”

The report, “Raising the New Mexico Minimum Wage: Helping Those Who Need it Most,” is available online: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/min-wage-rpt-2014-web.pdf

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

 

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Report: Capital Gains Tax Deduction Ineffective and Unfair

The vast majority of the benefit goes to those with incomes of $100,000 or more

January 29, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—Legislation enacted in 2003 that allows New Mexicans with capital gains income to deduct half of that income from their state taxes has failed as an economic development tool. Further, it makes the state’s overall tax system lean more heavily on low-income families and exemplifies the need for a more robust accounting of tax giveaways. Those are the conclusions of a report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children.

“When this legislation was introduced we were told it would create jobs by bringing corporate headquarters to the state,” said Gerry Bradley, Senior Researcher for NM Voices and report author. “It’s been a decade and we’re still waiting on those jobs. It’s time to repeal this ineffective legislation,” he added. Legislation to do just that is expected to be introduced during the legislative session currently underway.

Almost 90 percent of the capital gains income in New Mexico goes to tax filers with incomes of at least $100,000, and nearly 60 percent goes to those with incomes of $500,000 and higher. A capital gain is the income realized when items like stocks, bonds, and real estate are sold at a profit. It is termed “unearned” income by economists because it does not come from wages or salaries.

“It’s wrong to tax income from wages more heavily than unearned income. This tax give-away is unfair and has no benefit for the vast majority of New Mexicans or the state as a whole,” said James Jimenez, Director of Policy, Research, and Advocacy Integration of the child advocacy organization. “That money would be much better invested in early childhood programs, K-12 education, public health, or aging infrastructure. Those investments would pay off in jobs now and a strong workforce in the future,” he added.

The report also faults the state’s lack of a statutory tax expenditure budget—an annual accounting of all tax credits, deductions, and exemptions. Such reports not only inform lawmakers of the cumulative cost of changes to the tax code, but can help them determine if those laws have had the desired effects. The Legislature has passed such legislation three times, only to have it vetoed each time. Tax expenditure reports subsequently created by executive order have been incomplete.

The report, “New Mexico’s Capital Gains Deduction: A Capital Loss for New Mexicans,” is available online at: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Capital-gains-tax-report-web.pdf

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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Annual NM KIDS COUNT Data Book Released Amid Calls for Action on Children’s Issues

Youth Ask Lawmakers to Address State’s 50th Ranking in Child Well-Being

January 21, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—The 2013 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book,  released today at the state Capitol, recommends policy changes to address New Mexico’s fall to 50th in the nation in child well-being. The annual report tracks child well-being by providing data on important indicators such as child poverty, child maltreatment rates, math and reading proficiency, teen birth rates by race/ethnicity, and more. A new section tracks the 16 indicators used in the national 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book, in which New Mexico placed dead last, ranks New Mexico counties on the indicators, and suggests policy solutions.

“This new section in our KIDS COUNT Data Book will help us monitor whether or not the state’s investments and policy changes move the needle on child well-being and provide a new level of accountability,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., Executive Director of NM Voices for Children, which publishes the annual report.

The report was released as part of Celebrating Children and Youth Day at the state Capitol. The release also included a launch of NM Voices’ NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us Campaign, which asks people to become Citizen Co-Sponsors of the NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us Policy Agenda. It’s all part of a larger effort to press policy makers to take action.

“It’s time for the Executive and Legislative branches to launch a coordinated, comprehensive effort to improve child well-being. Corporate well-being has been a big concern in the last few sessions, with the state giving out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks—while our children suffer. It’s time to put New Mexico kids first,” said Dr. Garcia.

The NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us Policy Agenda offers policy makers a starting point for an integrated effort to improve child well-being,” said Dr. Garcia. “Child advocates and service providers—not just NM Voices, but many other organizations that work to improve outcomes for children—are disappointed in the lack of response from our elected leaders concerning the dismal state of child well-being. We find this unacceptable and will be encouraging our state leaders to come up with and implement solutions soon,” she added.

The 2013 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book is available at http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/NM-KC-2013-data-book-web.pdf

The NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us: A Policy Agenda for a Better New Mexico is available at http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/KIDS-are-COUNTing-policy-agenda-2014-web.pdf  

More information on the Citizen Co-Sponsor campaign is available at http://www.nmvoices.org/citizen-co-sponsor-signup

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 KIDS COUNT is a program of New Mexico Voices for Children and is made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities.

625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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Report: So-Called ‘Flat Tax’ Legislation Would Make System Even More Unfair

Lowest-income New Mexicans already pay the highest rate of state and local taxes

December 17, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico’s state and local tax system is already unfair—with the lowest-income New Mexicans paying a rate double that of the highest income earners. A so-called ‘Flat Tax’ or consumption bill, such as the one introduced in the 2013 legislative session by Rep. Tom Taylor (HB-369) and Sen. William Sharer (SB-368), would make the tax system even more regressive. That’s according to a report by New Mexico Voices for Children.

Since similar legislation is already being discussed for the 2014 legislation session, staff members from the child advocacy group will release the report today at the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee hearing in Room 307 of the state Capitol in Santa Fe. James Jimenez, Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy Integration, and Bill Jordan, NM Voices’ Senior Policy Advisor/Governmental Relations will give a presentation on how legislators can use tax policy to improve child well-being.

“Enacting a consumption tax like the one considered last session would be a step in the wrong direction in terms of child well-being,” said Gerry Bradley, NM Voices’ Senior Researcher/Policy Analyst and report author. “The consumption tax—which is also called a 2 percent or flat tax—sounds fair because the sales tax rate is lowered. But it would have a detrimental impact on low-income families—and the state tax system already leans more heavily on them as it is. It would also very likely generate less revenue for programs like education, health care, and public safety,” he added.

The consumption tax legislation in question would eliminate both the personal and corporate income tax, lower the state gross receipts tax (GRT) rate from 5.125 percent to 2 percent, and then broaden it by applying it to wages and salaries. Refundable tax credits for low-income families would also be eliminated. Unearned income, such as capital gains—which overwhelmingly goes to those at the top of the income scale—would not be subject to any tax.

“Our income tax is the only part of our tax system that is progressive—meaning it relies less on those with the lowest incomes. Even so, the lowest-income New Mexicans pay more than 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while those at the very top pay less than 5 percent. The income tax only partially offsets the regressivity of the rest of the tax system. The GRT is particularly hard on low-income families because they must spend their entire monthly wages just to get by, while higher-income families can save some of their income,” Bradley said.

The report, “The 2 Percent Disaster,” and its executive summary are available online at: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Flat-Tax-Report-web.pdf and
http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Flat-Tax-Report-exec-sum-web.pdf

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

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