Tax Fairness & 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.
Revenue We Can Rely On
In order to build a strong economy, New Mexico must be able to reliably fund the services – like education, health care, and public safety – that our families and businesses rely on. Our over-reliance on revenue from the boom-or-bust oil industry makes that impossible. Here are the top 5 reasons we must change. Updated October 2022.
New Mexico is Putting Families First in Tax Policy
Our state’s policy makers made a number of improvements to the tax code since 2019 that will help low- and middle-income New Mexicans, improve equity, and increase economic opportunity for our working families.
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.
- Link to the full Guide to New Mexico’s Tax System or the executive summary
- Link to the full Guide to New Mexico’s State Budget or the executive summary
2023 Legislative Post-session Review
Post-session Review Many of the policies enacted during the 2023 legislative session mean big wins for New Mexico's families. This fact sheet lists some of the highlights, along with some policies that were either not passed or were passed and then vetoed.
How tax policies exacerbate racial and ethnic disparities
Fact Sheet Decades of structural racism – in everything from education to voting rights, home ownership, and even drug sentencing laws – have advantaged whites while disadvantaging people of color. This has led to huge gaps in income and wealth, and the state's tax system only makes them worse. (State-level data on income, wealth, and tax incidence by race and ethnicity.)
Recent Blog Posts
Our Bonding Boondoggle GIF-splained
Most of us were taught at a fairly young age the importance of cleaning up the messes we make. But unfortunately, many American industries are not held to the same standards we set for our children. Chief among these is the oil and gas industry. This GIF-splainer looks at why that is and what it costs us.
Tax Day – a time for reflection on all the things New Mexico has done right
Another Tax Day has come and gone, which makes it a great time to mention some of the improvements our state leaders have made to our tax system over the last several years. The big news is the creation and expansion of our Child Tax Credit, which we know is one of the best and most effective ways to help our families and their growing children.
Recent News Coverage
Oil and gas ‘done right’ means higher costs for New Mexico operators, study says
Carlsbad Current Argus--Releases of excess natural gas through venting or burning it through flaring also wasted a resource Kayne said could mean more revenue to the public. “That fact that we just allow it to be vented into the atmosphere is concerning to say the least,” she said. “It’s a natural resource and it could mean more revenue.”
New Mexico Pre-K set to receive infusion of funding
Santa Fe New Mexican--“It’s hard to overstate the impacts of ensuring that all families can afford great child care and great early childhood experiences for their kids,” Wallin said. “We know that … access to great early care programs can lead to increased graduation rates, decreased criminal justice incidences, strengthened economic security for families for multiple generations. Those are all things that we can expect to see long term,” she added.
Programs, Coalitions & Networks
Economic Relief Working Group A coalition of several grassroots and advocacy organizations – many of them focused on immigrant rights – ERWG was formed in 2020 initially to secure pandemic relief for those New Mexicans who did not qualify for federal relief due to their immigration status. ERWG worked on getting an accurate 2020 Census count for the state, and has also worked on wages, voting rights, tax credits and child care assistance, and currently runs a guarantied basic income (GBI) pilot project for families with mixed immigration status.
New Mexico Fairness Project A coalition of more than 30 organizations, NMFP works to ensure that New Mexico collects tax revenue in a way that is equitable and sustainable, and that is adequate to fund the programs, services, and infrastructure that New Mexico’s children, families, communities, and businesses rely upon. Run by NM Voices, NMFP also fights for fair wages and working conditions, and other issues central to family economic security.
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.
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.