Economic Security and Prosperity 2019-02-05T14:17:49+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

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

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

February 5th, 2019|

Report 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 have also been shown to improve health outcomes. These are just some of the reasons New Mexico should increase its Working Families Tax Credit. (State-, county- and legislative district-level data on who claims the WFTC and how much they receive)

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Recent Blog Posts

Tax credits are smart policy investments for a healthier New Mexico

February 20th, 2019|

How much income a family earns determines where they live, what access they have to schools, food, and health care, as well as the amount of stress they experience in making ends meet. Evidence shows that tax credits for working families are critical for not only putting money back into the hands of these consumers, but also for improving their health and well-being. New Mexico's Working Families Tax Credit brings these benefits to families and could do more if it were increased.

Time to restore fairness to the personal income tax and break the boom-or-bust cycle

January 22nd, 2019|

Now is the time to enact bold tax reform and improve our tax system so we can begin to generate key, sustainable resources that are not ruled by the boom-or-bust cycle of the oil and gas industries. This reform should begin by restoring fairness to the personal income tax, a stable source of revenue that is underutilized in New Mexico due to tax cuts enacted in 2003.

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Recent News Coverage

Bill tackles child care ‘cliff effect’ by increasing eligibility

February 7th, 2019|

“When you’re living in deep poverty, $300 is a lot of food on the table, and it helps pay one more electricity bill,” said Casau. “Even though it’s not a lot for the poorest of the poor, the fact that we are having copays for families that are in deep poverty is something that is unconscionable.”

Hundreds march on Roundhouse for immigrants and workers

January 29th, 2019|

For Estela Guzman, a researcher at New Mexico Voices for Children, a statewide advocacy organization, a top priority is to increase the state’s minimum wage. “These people have to work three to four jobs just to make ends meet,” she said, adding that increasing wages is a long-term solution for many. “If the community can’t thrive, we are all missing out.”

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