Economic Security and Prosperity 2018-10-23T13:42:07+00:00

Economic Security and Prosperity

The economy should work for everyone, not just a select few. But for New Mexicans who lack job skills and education, and work in low-wage jobs with little hope for advancement, economic security is just a dream. Long-term economic prosperity involves promoting economic and workforce development opportunities for all New Mexicans, as well as supporting access to adequate wage and work supports for those in crisis and those who are unable to work.

Featured Content

Investing in a Healthier New Mexico: The Economic and Fiscal Benefits of the Medicaid Expansion in New Mexico

The Medicaid expansion, as part of the Affordable Care Act, has been very good for New Mexico. Not only are tens of thousands of New Mexicans able to access health care, the program has brought billions into the state that has created thousands of jobs, economic activity, and tax revenue. (Report)

New Mexicans are Worth More: Raising the Minimum Wage

New Mexico’s minimum wage has not been raised in nearly a decade. Worth $7.50 an hour back in 2009, it now has the purchasing power of $6.30. Nearly a quarter of a million workers and more than 100,000 children would benefit by an increase in the state minimum wage. (A Working Poor Families report)

New Mexico Kids at the Crossroads

With the highest rate of child poverty in the nation, New Mexico is not providing the opportunities our children need to succeed. But the good news is that we can improve opportunities for New Mexico’s kids through public policy. This children’s agenda for candidates provides 30 policy recommendations that will help improve child well-being. (Policy brief) 

Recent Publications

A tax rebate that’s long-overdue for an expansion

December 3rd, 2018|

Fact sheet The Low Income Comprehensive Tax Rebate (LICTR) was enacted to make our tax system fairer but because it hasn’t been updated in 20 years, it no longer does the job. LICTR was last amended in 1998. Over the last two decades, the rebate has lost much of its value, because a dollar is worth much less today that it was back in 1998. Over the same time period, our tax system has only gotten more regressive – falling even harder on those with the lowest incomes.

Helping NM Families Get Ahead by Fixing the Child Care Cliff Effect

November 28th, 2018|

This updated fact sheet for The Cliff Effect: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back sums up the report's basic message about how the sudden loss of benefits like child care assistance--called the cliff effect--can act as a disincentive for hard-working families trying to lift themselves out of poverty. Also includes policy recommendations for mitigating the cliff effect. (State-level data on the child care assistance program)

All Publications

Recent Blog Posts

The next governor should improve our tax system and increase wages

November 3rd, 2018|

First, we recommend that the new governor work to make our tax system fairer and more stable. Thanks to 15 years of failed trickle-down tax cuts, New Mexico is now much too dependent on revenue from oil and natural gas extraction to fund our state services like education and public safety. But the amount of revenue we collect from oil production is based on prices that are set at the global level, so we’re stuck in a boom-or-bust cycle.

To make all kids count, we must count all kids

October 19th, 2018|

This is a perilous moment for New Mexico’s children. There’s no getting around it. Yet the future is not predetermined for kids in New Mexico. This state’s leaders can be inspired by this moment to do better by its children. They can choose to collaborate inclusively and act boldly and swiftly. That’s what it will take — both to position the state well for the 2020 census and to give children a better chance to thrive.

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Recent News Coverage

Allow next phase of city minimum wage hike as scheduled

December 7th, 2018|

The average childcare provider in New Mexico only earns about $17,400 a year, according to a 2015 study from the Center for Education Policy and Research at the University of New Mexico. The issue pits low-income workers against low-income parents, explained Sharon Kayne of New Mexico Voices for Children. “The minimum wage is not the culprit,” she said. “The culprit is that the state does not reimburse childcare providers what it actually costs to care for children.”

The next governor should improve our tax system and increase wages

November 3rd, 2018|

First, we recommend that the new governor work to make our tax system fairer and more stable. Thanks to 15 years of failed trickle-down tax cuts, New Mexico is now much too dependent on revenue from oil and natural gas extraction to fund our state services like education and public safety. But the amount of revenue we collect from oil production is based on prices that are set at the global level, so we’re stuck in a boom-or-bust cycle.

All news coverage

Current Initiatives

Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) is a national initiative focused on strengthening state workforce development policies as a way of reducing poverty for working families. One way to address poverty among working Americans is with so-called ‘work supports,’ which help stabilize low-wage workers while assisting their climb up the job ladder. Work supports include child care assistance, health care coverage, funding for adult basic education and community college attendance, and unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

Fiscal Policy Project, our program focusing on tax and budget policy, also covers work supports and wage issues.

Resources

A Basic Family Budget Calculator is an important tool in determining if a family lives in poverty, because the system currently in place to do that is completely outdated.

Federal poverty guidelines, which dictate whether a family is eligible to receive assistance such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, are tied to a formula that was created in the 1960s. It was based on what the typical family spent on groceries because that was a family’s biggest expense at the time. Today, necessities like housing, childcare and health care take up a far greater share of most family incomes than groceries. Not only do the guidelines not take these changes into account, they do not take into account regional differences in the cost of living.

Because the federal guidelines are so inaccurate, families are generally considered low-income when they earn up to twice (or 200 percent) the poverty level. This makes up for some shortfalls in the guidelines, but they are still nowhere near as accurate as a Basic Family Budget.

  • Click here to find out the minimum amount families need to earn in order to live at a basic, no-frills level in New Mexico’s cities and counties