January 8, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico Voices for Children, which advocates on behalf of the state’s low-income children, released the following statement regarding the Legislative Finance Committee’s budget request for fiscal year 2017:
“While we’re pleased with the funding increases in the Legislative Finance Committee’s $6.47 billion budget request, we find that it falls short in the areas of health care and early childhood care and learning. While the budget request increases spending in both areas, these vital services will still fall short of meeting the need.
“The LFC budget recommends $78.8 million in new funding for Medicaid, and while this is more than the Governor requested, it is still nearly $10 million below what the agency requested. What’s more, the agency’s request already accounted for $100 million in cuts to the health care program.
“Medicaid, which is funded in part by the federal government, is an economic engine, and the newly expanded program accounts for the sole bright spot in the state’s current economy. Failing to fully fund it will likely harm the state’s economy, as well as jeopardize the health of New Mexico’s low-income children, seniors and adults.
“The budget requests for early childhood care and learning programs—primarily home visiting, child care, and pre-kindergarten—are also disappointing. While funding is up, we are only now reaching 2010 enrollment levels for services for preschool-aged children. These programs are proven to do everything from prevent child abuse to improve educational outcomes, and full expansion should be a top priority for anyone wanting to improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans.
“New Mexico’s children are the future of this state, and we cannot hope to improve our educational outcomes, child well-being, and economy until we are fully funding the programs that ensure they have the right start in life.”
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.
625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org