“There's been policies over the years that unfortunately really haven't prioritized many communities and families of color in our state," Wallin said. "And Doña Ana County and Las Cruces have higher proportions of families that are families of color. We know that it's incredibly important to support our essential workers because we know that Doña Ana County has a higher proportion of essential workers as compared to the rest of the state and the rest of the nation.”
“We saw so many of the indicators of child well-being were really improving; then the pandemic hit,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, during a virtual news conference Wednesday. “Next year, we’ll see the damage the pandemic did in a statistical way. I know we see it in new reports every single day of how families are struggling.”
"...We can show our determination and resiliency through reimagining our state's policies to repair the fault lines that have widened along racial lines, by gender and by income levels since the pandemic struck," the summary said.
Jimenez said it’s also important for legislators to enact policies to get money “into the hands of families who will spend it quickly and locally. We believe that all the tax credits to business in the world will not make a difference if people do not have money to spend in those businesses,” he said.
Gov. Lujan Grisham spoke at the press conference about some of her priorities for the current session. “We have a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children this year,” she said. “Among them – we’re on track to greatly expand education and care programs for our youngest children through the Land Grant Permanent Fund and we’re enacting an equity-first budget for public education that will ensure resources are going where they’re most needed.”
Report Child well-being in New Mexico was improving. But then the COVID-19 pandemic and recession struck. This annual report provides data on numerous child well-being indicators housed under four domains (economic security, education, health, and family and security). While we don't know the full extent of the harm COVID-19 has caused our kids, some pandemic-specific data from the fall of 2020 are included. (Data on the state, county, tribal area, and school district levels on child well-being)
Fact Sheet Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. One evidence-based way to help youth and those earning low incomes to stop or reduce smoking is to increase tobacco taxes. It also raises some of the funding needed to cover the public health care costs. (State-level data on smoking, death rates, etc.)
Bill Jordan of the nonprofit New Mexico Voices for Children pointed to annual child wellbeing rankings in which New Mexico regularly finishes last or near last in the nation. “One of the things we know from the data is our kids are behind before they ever get to school,” he said. “We urge you to invest in our own kids over Wall Street.”
Fact Sheet By increasing the personal income tax for just the highest-income earners – those who have been relatively unharmed by the pandemic and are in the best position to afford it – we can take an important first step in generating the stable revenue necessary to invest in the programs and services (like education, health care, and modern infrastructure) that promote shared prosperity and well-being for all New Mexicans.
Bill Jordan of New Mexico Voices for Children, said the earned income tax credit has proven to be one of the most effective measures in fighting poverty. “Building on this credit is a targeted and effective way to help low-income families and families of color who have been hit especially hard during this pandemic,” he said.