Our 2019 Legislative Priorities
We’ve created fact sheets on the pieces of legislation that are our top priority this session. They are listed below by issue area.
Note: the links for the bill numbers will take you to the New Mexico legislative website.
Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy
Enacting a Child Tax Credit (HB 18): New Mexico’s families with children are paying more income taxes thanks to the Trump administration’s tax cuts for corporations and the well-connected. This would help alleviate that. Link to our fact sheet here.
Increasing the Working Families Tax Credit (HB 6, HB 23 and SB 183): This tax rebate for families who are working but not earning enough to get ahead lifts tens of thousands of New Mexicans out of poverty while also strengthening our economy. Increasing it would make it even more effective. Link to our fact sheet here.
Restoring fairness to the personal income tax (HB 6, HB 365): In 2003, the Legislature gave big tax cuts for those with the highest incomes. This, along with tax cuts for corporations that were passed later, has made us too reliable on revenue from oil and gas. It’s also made our tax system less fair. Link to our fact sheet here.
Repealing the capital gains deduction (HB 6): This tax deduction almost exclusively benefits those with the highest incomes and it results in work from wages being more highly taxed than profits from the sales of stock, bonds, and real estate, etc. Another way in which our tax system is unfair. Link to our fact sheet here. Link to our gif-splainer blog here.
Increasing the Low Income Comprehensive Tax Rebate (HB 365): This tax rebate for the poorest New Mexicans would help make our tax system fairer because those with the lowest incomes pay a disproportionate amount of their income in gross receipts (sales) taxes. But because this rebate hasn’t been increased in decades, it doesn’t work as well as it is supposed to. Link to our fact sheet here.
Ensuring that big corporations are paying their fair share (HB 6, HB 247 and SB 335): Ten years after slashing income tax rates for the well-connected, the Legislature compounded this failed strategy by passing tax cuts for out-of-state corporations. This failed miserably, cost far more money than expected, and has made us overly reliant on the boom-and-bust cycle of oil and gas. We can’t build a strong future on such unstable revenue sources alone. Link to our fact sheet here.
How New Mexico got here: We didn’t win the race to the bottom by chance. It took years of failed tax-cut strategies to drive us to the bottom of the nation in child well-being and to lose a lawsuit over our lack of adequate funding for education. Link to our fact sheet here.
Know the numbers: This is a list of our tax priorities along with estimates of the amount of revenue they would either raise or (in the case of rebates) cost. Link to our fact sheet here.
Education and Early Learning/Care
Fixing the child care cliff effect (HB 160): When working parents begin to climb the income ladder, they can lose the child care assistance that allows them to work – even though the assistance is worth far more than the raise in pay they have received. Because this makes them worse off financially, many parents have no choice but to decline raises or move their children to low-quality child care to reduce costs. Link to our fact sheet here.
Improving college affordability in New Mexico (HB 127/SB 81 and HB 146): Even though New Mexico has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, we target very little of our state financial aid to those who could not afford to attend college without financial assistance. This is no way to educate our future workforce, attract good jobs, and solve poverty. Link to our fact sheet here.
Ensuring that pre-kindergarten is available to all 4-year-olds (SB 298): When New Mexico enacted pre-K the plan was for universal access in just a few years. Now, we’re seven years behind on that rollout. Kids can’t wait to grow up and we can’t wait to fully fund this important program that helps kids be ready when they start school. Link to the New Mexico Now website here.
Increasing the minimum wage (HB 31): The state minimum wage of $7.50 an hour hasn’t been updated in a decade – meaning it’s lost a great deal of its purchasing power. This bill would increase it to $10 an hour on July 1, 2019, $11 in 2020 and $12 in 2021. After that, the wage will rise each year with inflation so it doesn’t lose its purchasing power. Link to our report here.
Fighting hunger by NOT taxing food: Despite the high rate of opposition to reinstating the food tax, some lawmakers continue to pursue this bad policy. If the Legislature could find the money to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the well-connected, it can find money to pay for vital services like education, health care, and public safety without making it more expensive for our families to feed their kids. Link to our fact sheet here.
What you can do
Your elected officials need – and want – to hear from you. The best way to contact your legislators during the session is to call their office and leave a message with their staff person. All state legislators also have email addresses, but not all of them use email with any regularity.
- Send a letter to your legislators letting them know you support raising stable revenue as an investment in New Mexico’s families.
- How to contact your legislator (links to the NM Legislature’s website where you can search legislators by their name or district or by your address)
- Click on the ‘Committees’ link at the top of the webpage for a list of the committees that are hearing and shaping bills before they head to the floor for a full vote. Each link goes to a page with the names of all the members.
These fact sheets are part of our Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico initiative. Find out more and sign up for email alerts here.