“We have oil and gas, and so we have chosen to provide tax cuts in other areas,” said Bill Jordan, the government relations officer at New Mexico Voices for Children, an advocacy group. “Other states have figured out how to pay the bills … and they do it without oil and gas.”
“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.
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.
While the extraction of oil and natural gas in New Mexico is mostly done on public lands, the state has less authority over the process than you might think. And while the industry puts a lot of money into our public schools, it could put a lot more money in if the state made the rules. Unfortunately, because much of the public land where drilling takes place here is actually federal land, we must rely on the federal government to set the rules.
“All the tax breaks in the world for business aren’t going to make a difference if people don’t have money to spend,” he says. They get more money to spend by working at better jobs. And they get better jobs through better education, and through businesses attracted to a state with better infrastructure.”
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.