Officials with Kids Count, nonprofit that advocates for children, said the governor’s $100,000 donation to the newly-created New Mexico Hunger Action Fund is a step in the right direction. “But we also know we need to think bigger,” said Amber Wallin, director of Kids Count. “In order to really address childhood hunger in New Mexico, we need to think about wages, we need to think about tax policy in New Mexico, we need to make sure our low-income working families in New Mexico are prioritized."
“Tax policy is an important way we express our values as a state and raise the revenue to meet our goals,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in the press release. “These committees will study reform measures thoroughly and help us make sure we get it right.”
“Our state lawmakers made great strides in putting working families first this year – especially families with children,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit group that supported the tax package and commissioned the report. “These tax changes will really help our working families as well as help make our tax code fairer and more stable.”
Bill Jordan, government relations officer with New Mexico Voices for Children, said currently those with the largest incomes in the state pay the smallest share of their incomes in state and local taxes, while those with the lowest incomes pay the highest share. He said 385,000 children will benefit when the revamped tax code returns $64 million to working families.
To effectively address New Mexico’s interlocking problems, this free-tuition idea can avoid regrettable results if we learn from the Yazzie-Martinez litigation and the Lottery Scholarship outcome data.
“It’s fantastic. It’s a really significant step forward for child care assistance in New Mexico,” said Amber Wallin, New Mexico director for the annual Kids Count report on child wellbeing.
“The big challenges in those areas are connecting to the folks who we know are likely to be undercounted,” said Amber Wallin, deputy director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “So people who may be poor or housing-insecure can be a real challenge in those areas, especially in communities that are changing.”
“The greatest truth must be the recognition that in every child is the potential for greatness,” said Amber Wallin, deputy [director] of NM Voices for Children. “We’re all in this together.” We heartily agree: New Mexico is a great state to live in, and it can only be better with less poverty, a better-educated populace, less hunger and less crime.
On this week's edition of Eye on New Mexico, Colton Shone posed a question – do our kids count? New Mexico, once again, has been ranked 50th for child well-being. The annual Kids Count report placed New Mexico dead last in education and in "the family and community" domain. Shone interviewed James Jimenez, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, about the rankings.
"With that potential citizenship question in there it was pretty clear that was intended to have a dampening impact on the willingness of particularly the immigrant population, but also others, to participate in the census," said Jimenez. Jimenez said New Mexico already leads the country with the highest hard-to-count populations.