Infographic/fact sheet Some legislators have introduced bills that would put the state's sales tax (the gross receipts tax, or GRT) on food purchased at the grocery store. This is a bad idea -- even if it's done as part of an effort to lower the overall GRT rate. With New Mexico's high rates of food insecurity and poverty, a tax on food will hurt even those families who receive SNAP, because these benefits are not intended to meet a family's entire food need. (State-level data on food insecurity, SNAP usage, trade-offs families must make, and an opinion poll on the issue)
“Better tax policies like these are an important tool for creating a state with more opportunity and more broadly shared prosperity,” said James Jimenez, executive director of NM Voices. “Improving and expanding the taxation of wealth could help bring more balance to our state’s tax code by ensuring the wealthiest families are paying their share toward building a stronger New Mexico.”
The average childcare provider in New Mexico only earns about $17,400 a year, according to a 2015 study from the Center for Education Policy and Research at the University of New Mexico. The issue pits low-income workers against low-income parents, explained Sharon Kayne of New Mexico Voices for Children. “The minimum wage is not the culprit,” she said. “The culprit is that the state does not reimburse childcare providers what it actually costs to care for children.”
One of the best things about living in New Mexico is the abundance of great natural beauty and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s the view from just about any rural highway or one of the many state and national parks and forests, New Mexico boasts some of the most beautiful land in the nation. It is a heritage that all proud New Mexicans want to protect for future generations, a pride woven into our culture. The preservation of our public lands is a sacred trust, but it’s being made more difficult by the inaction of Congress.
Fact sheet The Low Income Comprehensive Tax Rebate (LICTR) was enacted to make our tax system fairer but because it hasn’t been updated in 20 years, it no longer does the job. LICTR was last amended in 1998. Over the last two decades, the rebate has lost much of its value, because a dollar is worth much less today that it was back in 1998. Over the same time period, our tax system has only gotten more regressive – falling even harder on those with the lowest incomes.
Evidence-based programs such as home visiting, domestic violence and teen pregnancy prevention programs, fully staffing child protective services, a higher minimum wage and paid family leave can become “generational interrupters” to end New Mexico’s cycle of poverty. “We’re at a crossroads as a state. We’ve had problems. Now is the time to rewrite that story,” Wallin said.
A proposed rule change by the Trump administration may lead to thousands of New Mexico children not receiving health insurance and food assistance even though they're eligible -- all because of where their parents were born. Find out more about 'public charge' and what you can do to help stop these changes.
Many mental health experts think childhood trauma is one of the most urgent public health challenges in the country. Lori Martinez, executive director of Ngage New Mexico, said a recent lawsuit filed against the state's under-funded Children, Youth and Families Department demonstrates how dire the situation is for many children - and raising awareness is critical. "When we're talking about childhood trauma, we want to identify the ways that trauma affects us as individuals, and also as a society, on a daily basis,” Martinez said.
Fact sheet A big tax break enacted in 2003 overwhelming goes to the highest-income earners – the people who are already paying the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes. It costs the state tens of millions of dollars a year and means that unearned income is taxed at a lower rate than money earned from wages. (State-level data on income levels, etc., of those that receive this tax deduction)
“Not all bad experiences can be prevented, but many ACEs can be. Local communities, with support from the state government, are best positioned to play a prevention role,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Mental health care, drug and alcohol addiction treatment, programs that help solve generational poverty, and parent coaching services like home visiting, all require state support in order to be available to those who need them.”