By Sylvia Ulloa, New Mexico In Depth
March 28, 2019

Some children’s advocates are in an unusual position. After years of talk about state lawmakers taking a timid approach to early childhood education and child well-being, they say there were big wins from the just concluded legislative session.

The biggest they cite is approval of a new Cabinet-level Early Childhood Education and Care Department. But when it comes to the incremental funding approach the state continues to take for programs serving children under 5, the assessment was mixed.

Amber Wallin, deputy director for New Mexico Voices for Children, called the new Early Childhood department “big,” creating opportunity for the state to coordinate programs and ensure children who need them get all the services they are qualified for. She pointed to a tax reform plan that increased the working families’ tax credit and eased state tax increases on families with multiple children caused by the 2017 federal tax changes, saying it will also help even out the boom and bust cycle of oil revenue and ensure long-term financing for essential state programs for families.

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