“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.
Their top recommendation was to restore income tax rates to the level they were before the cuts of 2003. Those cuts have cost the state $500 million a year, and have gone disproportionately to those with the highest incomes, Wallin said. A family earning $25,000 a year now pays the same rate as one earning $250,000, she said.
James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit that works with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said the New Mexico Legislature’s recent approval of relief measures for small businesses and residents will help mitigate those issues. However, he said, Congress also needs to enact legislation providing more help to families.
He said he would support a bill to expand the state’s Working Families Tax Credit during the coming session, adding, “I think there’s a commitment not to repeat the mistakes of the past.” The nonprofit group New Mexico Voices for Children also called Tuesday for an expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit, which reduces state income tax liability for low-income residents.