Tax & Budget Policy
We believe that our state and federal tax systems should be transparent, they should generate enough revenue to maintain necessary programs, and everyone should pay their fair share. We also believe that children and families should be a high priority in federal, state and local budgets.
For more information, browse our publications on tax and budget policy.
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. Read more…
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.
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tool in determining if a family lives in poverty, because the system currently in place to do that is completely outdated.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.
We’re often asked why—as a child advocacy agency—we do so much work on tax and budget issues. One reason is that fiscal policies can and do have negative consequences for certain groups of people—namely low–income working families. And that’s not good for children.
Elected officials and policy advocates recognize that tax and budget issues are inexorably linked. This is because most government budgets are made up almost entirely of tax revenue. How that government chooses to spend its budget says a great deal about its priorities. While children remain a relatively high priority in New Mexico’s state budget, they have become less of a priority on the federal level.
Two principles of good policy guide our tax and budget work: fairness and revenue adequacy.
- Fairness: Tax policy should distribute the responsibility for taxes in a fair way: higher–income households, able to pay more, should pay more, while lower–income households should pay a lower percentage of taxes. Business should also pay their fair share.
- Revenue Adequacy: Tax policy should also ensure revenue adequacy: taxes must generate enough money to pay for essential services and functions such as quality public education, health care, and public safety.
Publications are an important part of our fiscal policy work, and we release several every year. All of our publications are available for download and public use with proper citation.