When it comes to the census, it pays to be counted. The next big census is less than three years away, and a lot is at stake for New Mexico. Besides being used to determine voting districts, data from the 2020 census will translate to almost $3,000 coming into the state per person, per year for the next decade.
Every child deserves access to the opportunities that will help them succeed. But in New Mexico--which ranks next-to-last in the nation for child well-being--too many families lack the resources we all depend upon to raise strong, healthy children. While our high rate of child poverty may seem like an insurmountable problem, it is one we can effectively address. It will take a coordinated effort and--yes--an investment of public resources, but the end result would benefit the state as a whole.
People who work full-time should not have to live in poverty. Refundable tax credits like the federal EITC and New Mexico’s WFTC incentivize hard work, help working families, and drive economic activity in New Mexico communities. The credits can and do make working families’ lives a little easier.
Our state's Permanent Fund has grown to $15 billion while child well-being has plummeted to 49th in the nation. But a lawmakers thinks that’s not dire?
When legislators reconvene in January they will likely consider enacting a tax on food. But research shows that such a move could harm already-vulnerable New Mexicans.
Another year… another ranking at the bottom of the barrel. New Mexico has ranked among the worst states in which to be a child for so long that it hardly seems like news anymore. In the 25-plus years that the Annie E. Casey Foundation has been publishing the KIDS COUNT Data Book, we’ve never ranked above 40th. Most years, we’ve ranked in the bottom five, but we can and we must do better by our kids.
New Mexico’s Working Families Tax Credit is based directly on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which was enacted in 1975. New Mexico’s credit was enacted in 2007 at 8 percent of the value of the federal EITC and raised the following year to its current value of 10 percent of the EITC. Both credits are refundable income tax credits available to low- and lower-middle-income workers. Each year the EITC injects about $500 million into New Mexico’s economy, and the Working Families Tax Credit provides an additional $50 million in benefits to New Mexico families.
Today is National EITC Awareness Day, a nationwide effort to increase public awareness about the benefits of the federal EITC, which is available to low- and middle-income working families. It helps people who work hard meet basic needs for food and transportation and provide for their children. New Mexico’s Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is based directly on the EITC and provides additional benefits for New Mexico’s working families and communities. It can be worth up to $614 for those who qualify for the EITC.
The recent Census data releases on poverty delivered some reasonably good news for the nation, but bad news for New Mexico. The Census gives us an annual look at how families are faring across the nation. While the rest of the nation is recovering—albeit very slowly—from the recession, New Mexico is still stuck in economic limbo, and a lot of our families are still struggling. This is important because in order for New Mexico’s economy to thrive, its people have to have the opportunities to do so as well; and New Mexico’s economy can’t get better when so many of its families are barely getting by. But it doesn’t have to be this way—there are common sense solutions that can address poverty and help make families and the economy stronger. Before looking at some of the solutions though, let’s take a quick look at what the Census data shows.
New Mexico is funding higher education way below pre-recession levels: Why we must reverse the trend
Students in New Mexico and across the country are now facing bigger hurdles than ever when it comes to financing their college educations. As states cut higher education funding, universities raise tuition and fees. As costs go up, students—especially those that are low-income—are forced to finance their education through loans. Growing student loan debt is made more difficult to repay due to rising interest rates. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, these barriers build on one another and are threatening to run over college students.