Nearly 90 percent of New Mexicans polled oppose food tax

Dec. 21, 2018

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-361-1288 (direct)
OR: Marie-Pier Frigon, Communications Assistant, 505-361-1288 (direct)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—A recent poll of 804 New Mexicans who are likely voters in the 2020 election shows that 87 percent oppose reinstating the tax on food, with 74 percent of all respondents strongly opposing the idea. The poll, which was conducted by national pollster Benenson Strategy Group, indicates that opposition to the food tax is on the rise. A similar poll, conducted in 2015 by Third Eye Strategies, found that 80 percent opposed a tax on food, with 60 percent strongly opposing.

“People understand that a tax on food hurts working families and their children,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which commissioned the poll. “New Mexicans believe their leaders should be fighting hunger, not making it worse.”

New Mexico has one of the highest rates of child poverty and food insecurity in the nation.

Reinstating the gross receipts tax (GRT) on food has been the subject of discussion at recent interim committee meetings, with several lawmakers stating their support for the idea as part of an overall reform that would lower the GRT rate.

But opposition to a food tax remained high – at 80 percent – when pollsters asked whether respondents would support a tax on food if the tax rate on other goods was lowered.

“Working families in New Mexico who are earning low wages spend a much larger share of their income on food, compared with middle-income groups,” said Sherry Hooper, executive director of The Food Depot. “Some working families already have to choose between putting food on the table and paying rent, or buying medicine. A tax on food would only make that worse.”

Very few states tax food and only two – Mississippi and Alabama – tax it at the regular rate.

“There’s no question that New Mexico needs more stable and reliable sources of revenue so we can invest in our people and infrastructure,” said Jimenez. “But there are much better ways we can do that without taxing food.” The child advocacy group has outlined many of its policies in its Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico initiative.

More results from the poll, which was conducted December 4-9, 2018, will be shared in early 2019. These will include which issues likely voters want the state to address as well as support for various ways to raise revenue.


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 WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p);