James Jimenez, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, pointed to what he called a lost decade — from 2008 through 2018 — when the recession took its toll on the state. He said that resulted in little economic opportunity and state policymakers at the time took an austere approach to public spending.
“One of the nice things about doing something like the child tax credit is the notion that families know best on how to support their needs,” he said. “When you use a tax credit model, it puts the money and the decision power back in the hands of the families.”
Because 75 percent of New Mexico’s children are children of color and a disproportionate share of people of color live below the poverty level, the new tax credits that families will be able to collect will bring greater equity to New Mexico families and children of color, Jimenez said. “Tax policy is not race neutral,” he said.
“I can’t think of anything in my career that will have the impact on children that this bill will have. And, and I think it’s going to be incumbent upon all of us to follow through and follow the lives of these kids, and hold up the success stories that this creates,” said Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich on Thursday in a presentation alongside education advocates highlighting the Act.
“The lottery-based scholarships that are being provided are not addressing where the real need is,” James Jimenez, the executive director of NM Voices, said. “For a child of color born in New Mexico, there's a higher chance that child will live in poverty than a white child ... I think we need to do a much better job of directing aid toward families of color, (and) more specifically, low to moderate income families.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, New Mexico was beginning to move forward on a path to more broadly shared prosperity. The pandemic and recession seem to have put some of that progress on hold. But they don’t have to. We can continue to move in the right direction if we ensure we have adequate and sustainable revenue that is raised in a way that is fair.
While we think of Social Security as “our” money, the fact is, most seniors receive much more in Social Security benefits than they actually paid in while working. The majority of the money in your Social Security check comes from other sources.
But James Jimenez, the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit group that advocates for health care access and economic security, said he’s optimistic about the session’s final outcome. He also said changes to New Mexico’s tax code could bolster the state’s economic diversification efforts, adding that concerns raised by business groups are not new.
“We know that when aid comes to families, irrespective of their status, they spend it locally,” he said. “We’re hopeful that Congress and the president will recognize contributions that all immigrants make to New Mexico and the United States economically,” Jimenez added.
“There's been policies over the years that unfortunately really haven't prioritized many communities and families of color in our state," Wallin said. "And Doña Ana County and Las Cruces have higher proportions of families that are families of color. We know that it's incredibly important to support our essential workers because we know that Doña Ana County has a higher proportion of essential workers as compared to the rest of the state and the rest of the nation.”