There is plenty to celebrate in the landmark Investment Reduction Act. New Mexicans will benefit with lower energy costs, good-paying jobs, more energy-efficient homes and businesses, cleaner air, funding for wildfire prevention and drought preparedness, and much more.
New Mexico voters can also take action by voting Yes on Constitutional Amendment 1 on the ballot in November. Constitutional Amendment 1 would draw down a small portion of the $26 billion permanent school fund to support high-quality early childhood care and education services — such as home visiting and pre-kindergarten — and services for at-risk students.
New Mexico is not like any other state. Our people, our traditions and our communities are unique. This November, voters have the opportunity to approve a ballot question that would bring data driven, transformational change to our state to level the playing field for hardworking New Mexico families, giving all of our kids, regardless of family income, a fair opportunity to thrive.
Our families and communities are safer and can thrive best when everyone has a warm, healthy place to live. However, as many as 80,000 New Mexicans are at risk of eviction – that’s equivalent to almost the entire population of Sante Fe. Worse, approximately 16 families get evicted every day in the state.
New Mexico’s leaders have taken many actions to protect and support children and families through this uncertainty, including hunger relief funding, emergency economic relief for those left out of federal stimulus payments, a new paid-sick-leave policy, and an increase and expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit, which will put money in the hands of families who will spend it quickly and locally to provide for their children’s basic needs. These actions prevented us from losing all the progress we’ve been working for to improve well-being for all of our children.
While families in New Mexico face rising gasoline prices at the pump, oil and natural gas companies are getting the deal of a century. Not only are they cashing in on higher prices, but they pay pennies on the dollar to lease our public lands for development and evade having to pay New Mexicans what we’re rightfully owed in royalties. All of this undercuts funding for our schools, and our children deserve better.
In New Mexico, we have lived through many boom-and-bust cycles of the oil and gas industry. But recent years have shown just how much we need to break this cycle - particularly as we plan for the transition from oil and gas to clean energy - by tipping the scales away from the oil and gas corporations and back toward New Mexicans who have shouldered the consequences.
The physical and economic health of our states depends on fair and responsible management of publicly owned resources -- everything from our school buildings to our state and national parks. But because of the broken federal oil and gas leasing system, our schools have received less-than-promised funding and discarded oil wells are polluting our cherished public lands.
Incremental improvements show us both that progress is possible and also that creating the nurturing environments our kids deserve and need to thrive will require bold and sustained actions and investments.
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.