By Amber Wallin, Santa Fe New Mexican April 18, 2022 After more than two years of a pandemic and its related recession, it’s hard to remember life in 2019, let alone what great things were [...]
“We know there are families having trouble buying food, having trouble making the next rental payment. If the state can give more money to those people making a lower income, that would be great,” she said.
As proud New Mexicans, we know our state has the best scenery and natural beauty in the nation. While we want to keep it that way, that’s hard to when our landscape is dotted with old, pollution-spewing orphaned oil wells. Here's how to fix this problem.
The U.S. Census Bureau is collecting data on how families are spending their monthly payments, so we know that the majority of the spending is going toward food. Wallin said that’s a good sign for a state that’s long struggled with childhood food insecurity. “We’re just glad to see that this relief is helping the families’ most basic needs,” she said.
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.
New Mexico stuck with $8 billion in cleanup for oil wells, highlighting dangers from fossil fuel dependence
The state has long suffered from the roller coaster cycles of extractive industry, according to James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a health, education, and economic advocacy organization. “We’ve made policy choices in boom times that have really exacerbated our over-dependence on oil and natural gas revenues,” Jimenez told DeSmog.
Part of the social contract for companies operating in New Mexico is the straightforward notion that they should clean up after themselves. That’s especially true for industries like oil and natural gas whose messes contain deadly pollutants.
“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.