Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy

The institution of government is the means by which we do things collectively that we could not do as individuals. One of the main functions of government—written into the Constitution—is to promote the general welfare by collecting revenue that is spent on public structures like schools, roads and bridges, and services like public safety, public health, and much more. How we collect and spend public money says a great deal about our moral objectives. Our tax and budget policies should be fair, responsible, and transparent, address income inequality, and generate sufficient revenues to support programs and services that improve our quality of life. Children and families should be a high priority in federal, state, and local budgets.

Featured Reports

Try Spelling Regret without GRT
The tax cuts heralded by Susana Martinez have cost the state more than $500 million during her stay as governor of New Mexico. What were they, how much did they cost, and what did we get for them? Research and Policy analyst Raphael Pacheco takes a look.
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How revenue from HB 202 could be invested in New Mexico
In the world of revenue-estimates and budget-making, numbers can seem pretty abstract. This infographic takes a look at how the revenue provisions in HB 202 might actually be invested to stem more harmful spending cuts. (Infographic; Feb. 2017) Read more
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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

Recent Publications

Bipartisan collaboration and, more importantly, time and responsible leadership are required to undertake tax reform this large. Please, governor, stop taking us for a ride and do your job.

The tax cuts heralded by Susana Martinez have cost the state more than $500 million during her stay as governor of New Mexico. What were they, how much did they cost, and what did we get for them? Research and Policy analyst Raphael Pacheco takes a look.

Learn the basics of the state’s general fund budget—what the state spends money on and how much goes where—in this companion to Advocate’s Guide to the New Mexico State Budget. (A Fiscal Policy Project publication; updated Mar. 2017) Read more

View all Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy publications

Recent Blog Posts

June 8, 2017
Kansas, just wrapped up a 5-year long experiment in governance from which the other 49 states can now glean some important lessons. The Kansas Legislature has voted to roll back much of the 2012 package of tax cuts that sent the state into a downward spiral of financial instability and weakened the Kansas’ public schools, universities, Medicaid program, and virtually everything else that the state funds.
May 24, 2017
Bipartisan collaboration and, more importantly, time and responsible leadership are required to undertake tax reform this large. Please, governor, stop taking us for a ride and do your job.
March 22, 2017
The tax cuts heralded by Susana Martinez have cost the state more than $500 million during her stay as governor of New Mexico. What were they, how much did they cost, and what did we get for them? Research and Policy analyst Raphael Pacheco takes a look.
January 24, 2017
In reaction to the revenue shortfall that was created in large part by bad tax policy decisions, some lawmakers are looking to enact more bad policy. But sweeping up money from these special funds will endanger more than just common sense.

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Current Initiatives

Fiscal Policy Project provides timely and credible analysis of budget, tax and related issues in New Mexico so we may educate lawmakers and advocate for an equitable tax system and responsible spending.

New Mexico Fairness Project is an alliance of nearly 40 small businesses and faith-based, advocacy and labor organizations calling for a balanced approach to the state’s taxation and budget policies.

SPP & EARN are two national initiatives in which we take part: the State Priorities Partnership (SPP) and the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN). SPP is a program of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) and includes 31 state-level groups nationwide. EARN is a program of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and includes 55 groups from across the nation.

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.