By Ruth Hoffman and Divya Shiv, Santa Fe New Mexican
October 12, 2023

Children and families are the vital spark of Santa Fe. Families raise the next generation of leaders, innovators and educators in our state and our communities, but families need affordable housing to improve health and economic outcomes for themselves and their children. And families need stable and affordable ways to build wealth and financial security for their children’s futures.

That is why New Mexico Voices for Children is asking you to vote yes to create a permanent revenue stream to build and support affordable housing initiatives in Santa Fe. The 3% excise tax only on homes selling for more than $1 million (and only applied to the amount exceeding $1 million) is a progressive tax that goes to a critical need for families and children — stable, affordable housing.

New Mexico Voices for Children was founded in 1987 by pediatricians to seek systemic solutions for challenges facing children and families. We are a nonpartisan, statewide advocacy organization, and we know that addressing big problems like housing unaffordability, homelessness and substandard housing requires passing big policy solutions. We aim to address the root causes of challenges to child and family well-being: policies, practices and institutional structures that disadvantage groups of people.

Our organization has a well-known history of advocating for progressive tax policies that benefit working families. When we talk about progressive tax structures, we are talking about the wealthiest paying their fair share to help support the programs and services that benefit us collectively, like quality education, health care and in this case, affordable housing.

We support the proposed 3% tax because it’s a fair solution that asks those with plenty to help ensure all Santa Fe families and children have opportunities to thrive in the community they call home. The proposed 3% tax will generate an estimated $6 million per year to support working families in finding homes in Santa Fe, building wealth and raising their children here.

Access to stable, affordable housing improves outcomes for children and families. We must unite across housing differences and work to change the statistical reality that a child’s health and educational outcomes are often determined by their ZIP code.

In addition, families will benefit from the ability to grow their assets, access credit and build wealth. Home equity is one of the most important ways to create sustainable wealth for families. Home equity helps protect families from financial ruin caused by unforeseen events, like an accident, illness or unemployment. Home equity can also support a family in taking a risk, like starting a small business or sending a child to college.

The proposed 3% tax is a smart and equitable investment in the working families and children that are the heart and soul of Santa Fe. Please vote yes in November to support children and families thriving in Santa Fe.

Ruth Hoffman is on the board of directors of New Mexico Voices for Children, and Divya Shiv is a research and policy analyst for New Mexico Voices for Children.