Economic Security and Prosperity2019-02-05T14:17:49-07:00

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

New Mexico’s Working Families Tax Credit and the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit

Tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families are a common-sense way to spur economic activity by putting money into the hands of consumers who will spend it. They also are an effective way to lift working families out of poverty. These are just some of the reasons New Mexico should increase its Working Families Tax Credit.
 

Improving College Affordability to Support New Mexico’s Education, Workforce, and Economic Goals

New Mexico is a poor state, yet little of our state-based financial aid goes to students who can’t attend college without monetary assistance. This report looks at the state’s financial aid structure — how much money is awarded and where it goes — and makes recommendations for policies to improve financial aid that’s awarded on the basis of need. (A Working Poor Families Project report)
 

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)

Recent Publications

Early Childhood Education Helps All Kids Thrive

February 7th, 2020|

Fact sheet All New Mexico children deserve to have the opportunities in their most formative years that will help them to thrive and succeed in life. Unfortunately too many kids in New Mexico lack access to such opportunities either because their hard-working families cannot afford them or programs are simply not available in their communities. (State-level data on child and family poverty, and child care costs)

Ensuring New Mexico’s Kids Have Enough to Eat

January 29th, 2020|

Fact sheet New Mexico children face major challenges when it comes to having enough food to eat, but there are common-sense policy solutions that we can take to end food insecurity and improve children's health, well-being, and opportunities to reach their full potential. (State-level data on childhood food insecurity)

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Recent Blog Posts

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Recent News Coverage

NM needs to truly invest in child care assistance

December 19th, 2019|

The real problem is that child care assistance in New Mexico has not been funded as much more than a work support program for parents. We’ve never made the investments that would be needed in order to address the multi-dimensional needs of kids in our state and see the increases in school readiness that we know the program can provide. It’s like setting aside only enough money to buy a subcompact and then complaining that it’s not as roomy as an SUV.

Most New Mexico Families Will Get Good News this Tax Season

December 15th, 2019|

In all, the tax package that was passed last year was a win for New Mexico families with children. It also protected revenue that we need for our classrooms, road repairs, and health care while still giving working families a much-needed break. There is still work to be done in 2020 to make the tax system fairer, but 2019 was a great start.

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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