Economic Security and Prosperity

The economy should work for everyone, not just a select few. But for New Mexicans who lack job skills and education, and work in low-wage jobs with little hope for advancement, economic security is just a dream. Long-term economic prosperity involves promoting economic and workforce development opportunities for all New Mexicans, as well as supporting access to adequate wage and work supports for those in crisis and those who are unable to work.

Featured Reports

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NM’s Working Families Tax Credit
In New Mexico, the Working Families Tax Credit is one of the most sensible parts of our tax code: it encourages work, helps to raise hard-working families out of poverty, and benefits almost 300,000 children, while also pumping millions back into local communities. Increasing the credit is a smart investment in our businesses, working families, and future. (A Working Poor Families Project report; Jan. 2017) Read more
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Raising the State Minimum Wage
Raising the minimum wage is an effective strategy for reducing poverty in New Mexico, particularly given the erosion of its purchasing power since it was last raised in 2009. This report looks at the demographics of the state’s minimum wage earners, as well as makes the case for indexing the wage to inflation. (A Fiscal Policy Project report; Jan. 2017) Read more
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Turning Assistance into Opportunity
The TANF program provides some cash assistance to eligible families with children so they can better afford basic necessities. Unfortunately, TANF in New Mexico does not sufficiently address one of the reasons families fall into or remain in poverty: the lack of education credentials and job skills, which present barriers to employment and to getting jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. (A KIDS COUNT Special Report; Dec. 2016) Read more

Recent Publications

New Mexico's employment ratio--the percentage of the working-age population to the number of employed people--is the lowest it's been since 1976. It's also lower than neighboring states and the national average. (Infographic; Mar. 2017) Read more

The Earned Income Tax Credit has long been called the "best anti-poverty" measure to come out of Congress. New Mexico's state version, the Working Families Tax Credit, is also a powerful poverty-fighting. But legislators could make it better. (A Working Poor Families Project fact sheet; Feb. 2017) Read more

Myths abound when it comes to who earns the minimum wage. It's not teenagers looking for pocket change anymore. More and more minimum wage earners are older, have some education, and even have families. This one-pager looks at some of the most surprising facts about minimum wage earners. (A Fiscal Policy Project publication; Jan. 2017) Read more

View all Economic Security and Prosperity publications

Recent Blog Posts

September 7, 2016
State government has a very important job to do. It ensures that all children receive an education that will prepare them to be productive adults. It works to keep our streets safe and our infrastructure in good repair. It must respond to public health threats and keep an eye to future needs. When state government does its job well, it enables and strengthens the state’s economic growth and helps its people thrive.
August 30, 2016
It seems that every week there is a new story in the newspaper showing the consequences of choosing tax cuts for the powerful over public investment. One of the most egregious, which has a huge impact on public safety, is the backlog of thousands of rape kits with DNA evidence that have not been processed.
May 10, 2016
Low gas prices may make us happy at the pump, but the flip side--what it means to the state budget--will cost some of us dearly in lost services.
January 28, 2016
People who work full-time should not have to live in poverty. Refundable tax credits like the federal EITC and New Mexico’s WFTC incentivize hard work, help working families, and drive economic activity in New Mexico communities. The credits can and do make working families’ lives a little easier.

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Current Initiatives

Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) is a national initiative focused on strengthening state workforce development policies as a way of reducing poverty for working families. One way to address poverty among working Americans is with so-called ‘work supports,’ which help stabilize low-wage workers while assisting their climb up the job ladder. Work supports include child care assistance, health care coverage, funding for adult basic education and community college attendance, and unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

Fiscal Policy Project, our program focusing on tax and budget policy, also covers work supports and wage issues.

Resources

A Basic Family Budget Calculator is an important tool in determining if a family lives in poverty, because the system currently in place to do that is completely outdated.

Federal poverty guidelines, which dictate whether a family is eligible to receive assistance such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, are tied to a formula that was created in the 1960s. It was based on what the typical family spent on groceries because that was a family’s biggest expense at the time. Today, necessities like housing, childcare and health care take up a far greater share of most family incomes than groceries. Not only do the guidelines not take these changes into account, they do not take into account regional differences in the cost of living.

Because the federal guidelines are so inaccurate, families are generally considered low-income when they earn up to twice (or 200 percent) the poverty level. This makes up for some shortfalls in the guidelines, but they are still nowhere near as accurate as a Basic Family Budget.

  • Click here to find out the minimum amount families need to earn in order to live at a basic, no-frills level in New Mexico’s cities and counties