Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy2019-02-05T14:20:27-07:00

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

New Mexico’s Working Families Tax Credit and the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit

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. They have also been shown to improve health outcomes. These are just some of the reasons New Mexico should increase its Working Families Tax Credit.

Investing in a Healthier New Mexico: The Economic and Fiscal Benefits of the Medicaid Expansion in New Mexico

The Medicaid expansion, as part of the Affordable Care Act, has been very good for New Mexico. Not only are tens of thousands of New Mexicans able to access health care, the program has brought billions into the state that has created thousands of jobs, economic activity, and tax revenue. (Report)

Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico

New Mexico’s unique cultural diversity, great natural beauty, and strong sense of community make it an enchanting and resilient state, but there’s more work to be done to achieve our full potential. Tax cuts for the well-connected have bled New Mexico of crucial funding for public programs in education, health care, and other services for children. Now we’re 50th in the nation for child well-being. It’s time to make New Mexico’s children and families the highest priority, grow good-paying jobs by investing in our people, and more. Check out our Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico here.

Recent Publications

It’s Time to Repeal the Capital Gains Deduction

March 12th, 2020|

Policy brief New Mexico is one of just nine states to effectively tax capital gains less than the wages and salaries earned by hard-working New Mexicans. Beginning in 2003, those with capital gains income – who are overwhelmingly the wealthiest in New Mexico – were allowed to deduct 50 percent of their capital gains from their state income taxes. In 2019, legislators reduced the amount to 40 percent.

A Guide to New Mexico’s Tax System

March 12th, 2020|

Tax guide Learn the basics of New Mexico’s tax system—where the state gets its tax revenue to pay for public programs—in this simple, easy-to-use guide. (A Fiscal Policy Project publication)

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Recent Blog Posts

OMG! BLM’s O&G problem GIF-splained

November 19th, 2019|

New Mexico’s kids are getting short changed when it comes to funding for education and other important services. This gif-splainer breaks down why New Mexico is losing out on billions it could be using for an education moon shot.

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Recent News Coverage

Report says New Mexico is prepared for a recession — in some ways

March 30th, 2020|

"It is especially important that New Mexico is relatively well-prepared to weather a recession because we will be harder hit than other states by lower oil and gas prices due to our over-reliance on that industry as a revenue source,” James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, said in a statement.

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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.


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.