ALBUQUERQUE—The annual New Mexico KIDS COUNT data book—a project of New Mexico Voices for Children—has some bright spots for child well-being as well as some trouble spots. Measures of children’s health saw the most gains, with declines in the rates of babies born at a low birthweight, children without health insurance, and teens abusing alcohol and drugs. The teen birth rate has also declined, following a similar national trend.
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico should increase its minimum wage in increments of $1 a year every year until it reaches $12.50 by 2021 and index it so that it increases with inflation. That is the policy recommendation in a new report from New Mexico Voices for Children, a child advocacy organization. The report looks at the demographics of the state’s minimum wage earners, as well as makes the case for indexing the wage.
New Mexico’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program—what was formerly known as ‘welfare’—could do a much better job of helping families find educational pathways out of poverty. No TANF money is spent on education and training services that help parents gain credentials and secure family-sustaining employment. And while a significant percentage of TANF funding is used to pay for services like child care assistance and NM Pre-K, too few families with young children who receive TANF benefits are able to take advantage of these programs.
New Mexico is among the states with the highest income inequality in the country, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). New Mexico ranks 12th in the country, with its richest residents—the top 5 percent of households—having average incomes 15 times as large as the bottom 20 percent of households and five times as large as the middle 20 percent of households. The top 5 percent of New Mexico’s households receive 19 percent of the state’s income, even without counting capital gains.
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico’s investment in K-12 education—which is crucial for communities to thrive and the state economy to offer broad opportunity—has declined dramatically in recent years. New Mexico cut its general school funding by nearly 14 percent between 2008 and 2014, according to a new report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.
ALBUQUERQUE—A report released this week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) calls the food assistance program SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps) the single largest provider of nutrition assistance to children in struggling families across the country. The report also shows that 46 percent of New Mexico’s young children—ages zero to four—receive SNAP benefits. That’s the highest rate in the nation.
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico was still spending less per-student on K-12 public education in 2015 than it did before the recession when funding is adjusted for inflation. In the two years since then, funding increases—which amounted to less than 1 percent a year—have still been too low to keep pace with inflation and student population growth.
ALBUQUERQUE—Five New Mexicans recently joined the New Mexico Voices for Children Board of Directors. They are: Susan Herrera, Polly Dement, Kimberly Curry, Cindy Nava, and Antonio Granillo. “It’s wonderful to have this diverse group of accomplished New Mexicans join our Board,” said Board Co-Chair Don Simonson.
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico Voices for Children issued the following statement from executive director James Jimenez regarding Governor Martinez’s agreement to call a special legislative session: “Closed-door deals aren’t in the public’s interest. And quick ‘solutions’ that fail to promote long-term public investment don’t serve New Mexicans.
The Board for Directors of New Mexico Voices for Children has hired James Jimenez, MPA, to lead the child advocacy organization as its executive director. He replaces Veronica C. García, Ed.D., who left NM Voices at the end of July to serve as interim superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools.