Several bills were passed during the 2019 legislative session that should improve family economic security. Because these bills were targeted to help families earning low and moderate incomes – and because workers of color and women are disproportionately represented in those wage groups – the bills should also improve equity by helping to ensure that we all have access to the opportunities that help us reach our potential.
Given New Mexico’s substantial immigrant population and that group’s important contributions to our state – which includes paying taxes – it is essential that we enact policies that promote opportunity for all families. During the 2019 New Mexico legislative session, lawmakers passed several bills that will have broad benefits to immigrants, their families, and the state as a whole.
Higher education is one of the most powerful engines of social mobility. Our economy and families thrive, and our future is brighter, when we make adequate, strategic investments in our public universities and colleges and ensure that they are accessible for all youth. But New Mexico has underfunded its public higher education institutions for years, and tuition has increased as a result. New Mexicans of color are among those who are hit the hardest by these budget choices.
Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by incarceration even though studies show they commit crimes at similar rates to whites. African Americans in New Mexico are more than six times likelier to be incarcerated as whites and Hispanics are about two times likelier. Women who are mothers are also disproportionately represented. The overall inequity in our justice system has dire consequences for the health and well-being of our families.
The first installment in our series on policies passed during the 2019 legislative session that will improve equity in New Mexico, this blog looks at how tax policies can help close income and wealth disparities that fall along racial lines. Makes sense -- since tax policies helped create those disparities in the first place.
Every child deserves to live in a society where they have an equal opportunity to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential in life – a society where neither race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, disability, nor skin color can determine their opportunities and life outcomes. There are many ways to address equity in public policy. This blog is the introduction to a series where we focus on the outcomes of the 2019 legislative session and how they influenced equity, in policy areas such as taxes and spending, criminal and juvenile justice, college affordability, social determinants of health, family economic security, and more.
How do you tell an eight-year-old girl who spent every day of her life playing with her cousins, singing with her aunts, or even cooking with her grandmother, that she may never get to see them again? How do you tell an eight-year-old that if she wants to return to her home, she must leave her mother behind? Or that the government of the country she was born in did not want people like her mom?
When you filed your tax return this year, you may have noticed some changes. Maybe you got a smaller refund than usual or you owed more in state taxes. So what happened to the big fairness measures that the state Legislature just passed?
First and foremost, we need to do what’s best for our children. Spending money and time on aggressive litigation against a court order that simply requires us to educate our children at the standard set forth in our own constitution is not what’s best for our children. Our K-12 education system needs fundamental change, and that will not occur unless we place a relentless focus on improving what’s happening in the classroom, not “winning” in the courtroom.
This tax cut was sold to New Mexicans as the next great job-creator. But, like most trickle-down economic strategies, it failed on a massive scale. It's past time to repeal this ineffective give-away that mostly benefits those at the very top.