by Colton Shone, KOB TV 4
December 16, 2016

If you’ve suspected the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer, you might be on to something.

New Mexico currently ranks 12th in the nation when it comes to income inequality.

That number is according to a new report out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The top 5% of earners in New Mexico bring in nearly 20% of the total income. They average $254,096.

That’s nearly 15 times more than what 20% of households make. The poorest bring in an average $17,064.

“This report is not about bashing the wealthy. I say good for them if people have been able to find economic success, but what it means though is that our public policy makers need to do a better job at figuring out how do we position our public sector investments in such a way that provide opportunity for lower income and average people too,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children.

He says to turn these numbers into the average person’s favor is to invest in them.

“We can do things like stop cutting higher education, stop cutting our investments in education. We all know that education is the best path for success,” said Jimenez.

The report says the income inequality has risen 55% since 1979 for New Mexico households.

“If these kinds of disparities continue it means that our economy is going to be that much more difficult to grow. When you don’t have money in the hands of average people, they don’t spend any money,” said Jimenez.

Copyright 2016, KOB 4