Tuesday’s meeting of the Revenue Stabilization & Tax Policy Committee included a sobering reminder of the urgent need to find more stable revenue, but it also provided cause for hope – by reforming an unstable, inequitable tax structure, New Mexico can better serve the state’s children and future.
Since it was implemented in 2010, the ACA has faced strong opposition from Republicans. Although attempts to repeal the ACA have been unsuccessful, the Trump Administration has been highly effective at weakening the ACA by undermining its provisions. This includes making it more difficult to enroll in coverage by adding more administrative hurdles for eligibility and cutting the budget for outreach and enrollment.
Pre-pandemic New Mexico saw a boom in oil and gas extraction, which was mirrored by an increase in state revenue. And while many state leaders opined that this boom was going to last indefinitely, the reality for the industry was far more grim. “In short,” the report states, “while New Mexico posted record oil and gas revenues, the oil and gas industry itself was reporting steep losses.”
The Affordable Care Act not only allowed millions of Americans to receive health insurance, it also improved public health and helped close the health disparity gap for people of color. Part 1 in this 2-part blog series looks at how the ACA benefitted New Mexicans.
The fact is the entire federal leasing system is dramatically outdated and in need of wholesale reform. Look no further than BLM’s New Mexico sale in August to see why someone with no experience in oil and gas development – was able to snatch up a third of the leases offered for next to nothing.
The article’s revelations are at once shocking and not surprising, with lobbyists who have spent years fighting against regulations to reduce methane waste and pollution admitting the problem is real. And if you suspected the industry is more concerned about its image than protecting your health, you’re right. Its answer to out-of-control methane emissions? More image polishing and public relations advertising.
New Mexico’s 50th ranking in child well-being is the result of a decade of austerity due to choices lawmakers made during the last recession. In 2019 and early 2020, Lawmakers began to put the state on the right path for our kids. The pandemic and current recession do not need to derail us.
Over the past few months, the resiliency and strength of communities all across New Mexico have been in full view as people come together to support each other through the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the pandemic has caused disproportionate harm to communities of color, worsening disparities in health and economic well-being. Just as public policies entrenched systemic racism, they can be used to dismantle it.
During this public health emergency, New Mexico needs to do all it can to shore up essential services, take care of frontline workers, and extend a hand to New Mexicans who are sick, unable to work, or struggling to provide for their families. But falling tax revenue has put at risk New Mexico’s ability to protect our communities. While the path forward won’t be easy, lawmakers can steer us toward an equitable recovery by putting families first.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the brutal truth that the economic divide between the haves and have-nots – caused by centuries of discrimination and enshrined in unfettered capitalism – is not simply a quality-of-life matter. It is, in fact, a matter of life and death.