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.
How much income a family earns determines where they live, what access they have to schools, food, and health care, as well as the amount of stress they experience in making ends meet. Evidence shows that tax credits for working families are critical for not only putting money back into the hands of these consumers, but also for improving their health and well-being. New Mexico's Working Families Tax Credit brings these benefits to families and could do more if it were increased.
Now is the time to enact bold tax reform and improve our tax system so we can begin to generate key, sustainable resources that are not ruled by the boom-or-bust cycle of the oil and gas industries. This reform should begin by restoring fairness to the personal income tax, a stable source of revenue that is underutilized in New Mexico due to tax cuts enacted in 2003.
The past decade of austerity has been hard on New Mexico’s children. Still, we are optimistic about the future because we believe in the strength and resiliency of New Mexico’s families. We know we can build stronger communities and support more resilient families and children so that they can thrive. But we can only build a stronger New Mexico if our policymakers are willing to provide the revenue we need to make these investments.