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 Reports

The Cliff Effect: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
How can a $1 raise in pay throw families into poverty? When they are at the ceiling for child care assistance eligibility, a tiny raise can mean they go from paying 18 percent of their income on child care to 38 percent. Work supports like child care assistance should help families achieve economic stability. But the sudden loss of benefits--called the cliff effect--can have the opposite effect. (May 2018) Read more
Improving the best anti-poverty measure in New Mexico
New Mexico's Working Families Tax Credit works with the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which has been hailed as one of the best anti-poverty, pro-job creation measures Congress has ever enacted. This fact sheet explains why this tax credit works so well and how New Mexico policymakers could make it even more effective. And it could all be paid for by ending an ineffective tax credit. (April 2018)
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 in the 2018 election provides 30 policy recommendations that will help improve child well-being in New Mexico. Read more

Recent Publications

This 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. (Fact sheet; May 2018)

How can a $1 raise in pay throw families into poverty? When they are at the ceiling for child care assistance eligibility, a tiny raise can mean they go from paying 18 percent of their income on child care to 38 percent. Work supports like child care assistance should help families achieve economic stability. But the sudden loss of benefits--called the cliff effect--can have the opposite effect. (May 2018) Read more

New Mexico has a long and proud history of cutting-edge innovation in many fields, so making progress on child well-being is within our reach if we fully commit to it. This report lays out the ways in which we can move the needle on child well-being by enacting smart public policies.Read more

View all Economic Security and Prosperity publications

Recent Blog Posts

May 11, 2018
Imagine having to turn down a raise in pay because it will actually make you less financially secure. Sounds crazy, but that's what many working parents have to do--and just when they're making headway in the quest to provide their family with economic stability. It's all due to the "cliff effect" and, in New Mexico, the cliff effect for child care assistance can throw families who get even a small raise right back into poverty.
February 6, 2018
Bill Jordan spoke at the Second Annual People's Rally. His comments are posted here. "Our years of austerity just so that the rich and well-connected can get tax cuts ― those days are over! It’s time for us to invest in what works. It’s time to invest in New Mexico."
January 13, 2018
We all want a prosperous state, but prosperity requires investments. You can’t grow a garden without good soil, sunlight, water, and some hard work. Same with a state—you can’t have prosperity without resources, infrastructure, and a skilled workforce. But instead of following an investment strategy to prosperity, New Mexico has tried to cut its way to prosperity.
October 10, 2017
When it comes to the census, it pays to be counted. The next big census is less than three years away, and a lot is at stake for New Mexico. Besides being used to determine voting districts, data from the 2020 census will translate to almost $3,000 coming into the state per person, per year for the next decade.

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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