Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy2021-03-16T12:56:38-06:00

Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy

The institution of government is the means by which we do things collectively that we could not do as individuals. One of the main functions of government—written into the Constitution—is to promote the general welfare by collecting revenue that is spent on public structures like schools, roads and bridges, and services like public safety, public health, and much more. How we collect and spend public money says a great deal about our moral objectives. Our tax and budget policies should be fair, responsible, and transparent, address income inequality, and generate sufficient revenues to support programs and services that improve our quality of life. Children and families should be a high priority in federal, state, and local budgets.

Featured Content

Tax Policy: A Powerful Tool to Advance Racial Equity in New Mexico

While we all contribute to the revenue the state uses to provide education, health care, public safety, and more, some pay a higher price than do others. Sadly, this inequity tends to fall on racial lines. Our state and national tax systems benefit those at the top (who are mostly white) while disadvantaging people of color. This report looks at concrete ways New Mexico can make our tax system more equitable.

 

Your Go-To Guides on How the State Collects and Spends Money

Our state’s tax system and budget are a reflection of what we value most and an illustration of the kind of communities we wish to create. Who pays taxes and how much, and how we spend and allocate that funding – basically, how we make our values a reality – are decided by the lawmakers we elect to represent us in Santa Fe. They create the annual budget that the state uses to provide services that benefit us collectively, like education and health care.

The Working Families Tax Credit Will Help New Mexico Bounce Back

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. But New Mexico needs to do more than increase its Working Families Tax Credit – it needs to end exclusions that keep too many families from receiving it.

Recent Publications

How the American Rescue Plan Will Help New Mexico

March 25th, 2021|

Fact Sheet The American Rescue Plan Act will help New Mexico in a number of ways - income supports, housing and food assistance for families, and education and health care assistance for the state, cities, counties, and Tribes. This fact sheet looks specifically at how children of color - who have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic - will be helped. (State-level estimates, some by race and ethnicity, on how many people will be impacted)

A Guide to New Mexico’s State Budget: Executive Summary

March 15th, 2021|

Executive summary Our state budget is a reflection of what we value most and an illustration of the kind of communities we wish to create. How we spend and allocate funding – basically, how we make our values a reality – is decided by the lawmakers we elect to represent us in Santa Fe. They create the annual budget that the state uses to provide services that benefit us collectively, like education and health care. (Link to the full Guide to New Mexico's State Budget here)

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Recent Blog Posts

The HB 291 tax package will make our tax system more racially equitable

March 15th, 2021|

Like other public policy, tax policy can either advance or hinder racial and ethnic equity. It is never race-neutral. As the legislative session enters its final week, one important tax bill - HB 291 - is still being debated. There are numerous reasons to support (it raises revenue and makes our tax system more stable, among others), but one reason has particular meaning in a state where people of color comprise the majority of the population. This blog explains.

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Recent News Coverage

New Mexico stuck with $8 billion in cleanup for oil wells, highlighting dangers from fossil fuel dependence

May 26th, 2021|

The state has long suffered from the roller coaster cycles of extractive industry, according to James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a health, education, and economic advocacy organization. “We’ve made policy choices in boom times that have really exacerbated our over-dependence on oil and natural gas revenues,” Jimenez told DeSmog.

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Current Initiatives

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.

New Mexico Fairness Project is an alliance of nearly 40 small businesses and faith-based, advocacy and labor organizations calling for a balanced approach to the state’s taxation and budget policies.

State Priorities Partnership (SPP) & Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) are two national initiatives in which we take part. SPP is a program of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) and includes 31 state-level groups nationwide. EARN is a program of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and includes 55 groups from across the nation.

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.

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