First, we recommend that the new governor work to make our tax system fairer and more stable. Thanks to 15 years of failed trickle-down tax cuts, New Mexico is now much too dependent on revenue from oil and natural gas extraction to fund our state services like education and public safety. But the amount of revenue we collect from oil production is based on prices that are set at the global level, so we’re stuck in a boom-or-bust cycle.
Election issues are at the very heart of the values that matter most to us and our families – educating our children; improving our communities; and protecting our rights, safety and the world around us.
This year’s conference Childhood Trauma: From Symptoms to Systems Change, will take a hard look at ACEs – what causes them, what can be done to prevent them, and how we can promote resiliency. We will look at the importance of building trauma-informed practices throughout our agencies and organizations.
This is a perilous moment for New Mexico’s children. There’s no getting around it. Yet the future is not predetermined for kids in New Mexico. This state’s leaders can be inspired by this moment to do better by its children. They can choose to collaborate inclusively and act boldly and swiftly. That’s what it will take — both to position the state well for the 2020 census and to give children a better chance to thrive.
Prior to the ACA, the Human Services Department (HSD) played the role of gatekeeper for the programs they administered, such as Medicaid. Instead of working hard to enroll everyone who was eligible, they seemed to view their job as making sure that as few people got enrolled as possible – even though they were eligible.
A minimum wage increase is long overdue – it hasn’t been raised in almost a decade. As prices increase, purchasing power erodes, and families find themselves sinking deeper into dire straits. Our $7.50 minimum wage is now worth just $6.30.
Given the many challenges faced by our children, New Mexico should be making whatever investments are necessary to ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive and achieve success. Instead, over the last decade New Mexico has made some of the deepest cuts to K-12 education in the country. While some funding was restored during the 2018 legislative session, we are still far behind where we should be on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis.
As a recent college graduate returning to my home state after four years, I feel grateful to be able to celebrate Father’s Day with my family this summer. We devote time every year to celebrate our parents and all that they do for us because, as Americans, we value family. But this Father’s Day, I cannot help but think about the current immigration policies that are tearing young children away from their moms and dads and ignoring the importance of family.
Imagine having to turn down a raise in pay because it will actually make you less financially secure. Sounds crazy, but that's what many working parents have to do--and just when they're making headway in the quest to provide their family with economic stability. It's all due to the "cliff effect" and, in New Mexico, the cliff effect for child care assistance can throw families who get even a small raise right back into poverty.
Much of New Mexico’s array of scenic beauty has been enhanced and protected by a relatively little-known federal program called the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Unfortunately, at the end of the federal fiscal year, the sun will set on one of our country’s greatest conservation programs if Congress fails to reauthorize it. The loss of the LWCF would not bode well for America.