Initiatives and Coalitions

Fiscal Policy Project

The Fiscal Policy Project provides timely and credible analysis of budget, tax and related issues in New Mexico so we may educate lawmakers and advocate for an equitable tax system and responsible spending.

We’re often asked why – as a child advocacy agency – we do so much work on tax and budget issues. One reason is that fiscal policies can and do have negative consequences for certain groups of people – namely low–income working families. And that’s not good for children.

Elected officials and policy advocates recognize that tax and budget issues are inexorably linked. This is because most government budgets are made up almost entirely of tax revenue. How that government chooses to spend its budget says a great deal about its priorities. While children remain a relatively high priority in New Mexico’s state budget, they have become less of a priority on the federal level.

Two principles of good policy guide our tax and budget work: fairness and revenue adequacy.

  • Fairness: Tax policy should distribute the responsibility for taxes in a fair way: higher–income households, able to pay more, should pay more, while lower–income households should pay a lower percentage of taxes. Business should also pay their fair share.
  • Revenue Adequacy: Tax policy should also ensure revenue adequacy: taxes must generate enough money to pay for essential services and functions such as quality public education, health care, and public safety.

Publications are an important part of our fiscal policy work, and we release several every year. All of our publications are available for download and public use with proper citation.

New Mexico Environmental Public Health Network

The NMEPHN became a program of NM Voices at the start of 2021. As our work both on public health and environmental health and justice had been ramping up over several years, it made sense to bring this project into the NM Voices family. As our previous environmental health focused on protecting federal lands and mitigating the harm done by oil and gas exploration and extraction, the NMEPHN work is more broadly based on protecting the state’s natural resources of air, water, and land.

Birth to Five New Mexico

Birth to Five New Mexico is an alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving access to and the quality of early childhood care and education (ECE) in New Mexico.

Launched in 2010, the Birth to 5 NM alliance is organized and led by two organizations working in partnership: NM Voices for Children (NMVC) and the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children (NMAEYC).

Birth to 5 NM Policy Platform

Mission: To ensure that every child in New Mexico gets a great start in life by convincing the state to increase investments in early care and education so children thrive and find success in school and their lives. The four planks of the Birth to Five NM agenda are:

  • Expand access to high quality early care, education and health services for all children, starting with the most under-served and at-risk populations;
  • Invest in and support professional development and continue quality improvements for early childhood professionals and programs;
  • Support families’ roles as their child’s first and most important teachers beginning with prenatal care and family engagement; and
  • Develop stable and long-term funding sources for the full continuum of early childhood services.

Birth to 5 NM Publications

Policy Platform (2010; 1 page; pdf)
How Parents Can Help handout (2010; 2 pages; pdf)
How Teachers Can Help handout (2010; 2 pages; pdf)

Transforming Education: From Birth to Success

Transforming Education was a statewide invitation-only event convened in December 2010 to improve the educational status and well-being of New Mexico’s children by aligning early childhood care and education programs with the curricula of kindergarten through third grade.

Hosted by New Mexico Voices for Children and sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this 2-day event was attended by about 100 policy-makers, ECE professionals, advocates, and other stakeholders. Speakers and panelists from across the country shared the strategies they successfully employed to fund quality ECE programs in their areas. Participants shared their expertise, best practices, and ideas for moving forward. Link to Ray A. Mares’ online gallery to browse photos of the convening.

Convening Materials: Partner Publications

2010 National KIDS COUNT Data Fact Sheet Shows how New Mexico ranks on ten indicators in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual report. (July 2010; 1 page; pdf)

The First Five Years: Choice-Dialogues on Early Childhood in New Mexico Executive summary of Viewpoint Learning’s Choice Dialogs conducted in five New Mexico communities throughout the summer. (Oct. 2010; 30 pages; pdf)

Convening Materials: New Mexico Voices for Children Publications

New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund: A Primer Explains how the fund works, who the beneficiaries are, and how much money it has earned and distributed in recent years. (Nov. 2010; 3 pages; pdf)

Paying for Public Schools in New Mexico A brief overview of the major sources of public funding for New Mexico’s public education system.(Oct. 2010; 2 pages; pdf)

Property Taxes and Funding Public Schools A primer on New Mexico’s property tax beneficiaries, rates, and limitations. (Nov. 2010; 2 pages; pdf)

Portrait of New Mexico’s Current Investment in Young Children Policy brief examining funding for ECE programs and the need for a dedicated funding source. (Updated Oct. 2010; 4 pages pdf)

Early Childhood Supports in New Mexico: Challenges and Opportunities Details the major ECE programs in the state, including some of the funding history, and data on child well-being. (Updated Dec. 2010; 4 pages; pdf)

Potential Revenue Generators A number of revenue-generating ideas for New Mexico. (Dec. 2010; 1 page; pdf)

Post-Convening Materials

Transforming Education: From Birth to Success Presentation on why investing in the early years is a great way to reform K-12 education, presented to the Legislative Education Study Committee. (Dec. 2010; 25 slides; pdf)

“New Mexicans Can Reach Agreement About Early Childhood Issues” Commentary by Heidi Gantwerk about Viewpoint Learning’s Choice Dialogs in New Mexico (posted on (Feb. 14, 2011)