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 Reports

Celebrate Democracy: It’s Tax Day!
Call me crazy but I really enjoy Tax Day because I am truly proud to pay taxes. If voting during Election Day is a self-expression of our values, then filing our tax returns on Tax Day is the method through which we celebrate those values. Taxes provide the resources to make shared investments in the things we all care about like a cleaner environment, public health, and quality schools.
Imagine not being counted
The recent decision to include a question on citizenship status in the 2020 decennial Census is certain to increase the number of people who won’t respond to the census. And that’s exactly the political motivation behind the decision to include a question that hasn’t been asked since 1950. This change will be particularly bad for New Mexico.
A Blueprint for a prosperous state
Prosperity requires investments. You can’t grow a garden without good soil, water, and some hard work. Same with a state—you can’t have prosperity without resources, infrastructure, and a skilled workforce. But New Mexico has tried to cut its way to prosperity and it hasn't worked. This brief offers several recommendations for raising revenue so lawmakers can invest in our state and its people. (Policy brief; Jan. 2018) Read more

Recent Publications

Call me crazy but I really enjoy Tax Day because I am truly proud to pay taxes. If voting during Election Day is a self-expression of our values, then filing our tax returns on Tax Day is the method through which we celebrate those values. Taxes provide the resources to make shared investments in the things we all care about like a cleaner environment, public health, and quality schools.

The recent decision to include a question on citizenship status in the 2020 decennial Census is certain to increase the number of people who won’t respond to the census. And that’s exactly the political motivation behind the decision to include a question that hasn’t been asked since 1950. This change will be particularly bad for New Mexico.

The Lottery Scholarship—the state’s largest financial aid program—is not need-based even though New Mexico has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. What's more, it's not distributed in a way that helps many low-income students. Learn more with this Working Poor Families Project fact sheet. (Feb. 2018) Read more

View all Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy publications

Recent Blog Posts

April 17, 2018
Call me crazy but I really enjoy Tax Day because I am truly proud to pay taxes. If voting during Election Day is a self-expression of our values, then filing our tax returns on Tax Day is the method through which we celebrate those values. Taxes provide the resources to make shared investments in the things we all care about like a cleaner environment, public health, and quality schools.
April 6, 2018
The recent decision to include a question on citizenship status in the 2020 decennial Census is certain to increase the number of people who won’t respond to the census. And that’s exactly the political motivation behind the decision to include a question that hasn’t been asked since 1950. This change will be particularly bad for New Mexico.
February 6, 2018
Bill Jordan spoke at the Second Annual People's Rally. His comments are posted here. "Our years of austerity just so that the rich and well-connected can get tax cuts ― those days are over! It’s time for us to invest in what works. It’s time to invest in New Mexico."
February 3, 2018
We seem to finally have crawled out of the revenue ravine, and some legislators want to place us back on the edge of that same fiscal precipice? Sounds suicidal.

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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.

SPP & EARN are two national initiatives in which we take part: the State Priorities Partnership (SPP) and the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN). 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.