When you file your tax return this winter, you may be in for a very nice surprise. Thanks to the leadership of state legislators and Governor Lujan Grisham, New Mexico enacted several improvements in two tax credits that help those New Mexicans who need it most.
"Data shows these types of programs disproportionately benefit families that are headed by mothers, and that's really important right now because the data also shows that mothers have really disproportionately been harmed by the economic impacts of the pandemic," said Wallin.
A recent New Mexico Voices for Children report, Eligible but Excluded, said that federal law requires state agencies to provide “meaningful access” to people who speak languages other than English but many state agencies in New Mexico have no plans in place to improve language access. This makes breaking a system of economic hardship difficult and is inequitable, the report states.
“I think that the level of which people are being impacted by the pandemic is clearly not equal across genders, not equal across income spectrums, not equal across race or ethnicities. Because of that, we know women of color and women generally have been harmed more.”
“We refuse to recognize that tribal people do, in fact, know best how to educate their children. That is systemic racism,” said New Mexico Voices for Children Director James Jimenez.
James Jimenez, executive director New Mexico Voices for Children, said, “That’s the question. Is it going to be empty words or is the apology going to be backed up by action that incorporates advice from Native leaders?”
“We know that the pandemic has been particularly hard on undocumented or mixed-status families,” Jimenez said. “… Just having a little bit of money to help pay the current bill, but maybe even get themselves out of debt a little bit, I think, is one of the most positive things that we are hoping will happen.”
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.”