Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy2021-08-13T15:04:33-06:00

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

Orphaned Wells and Inadequate Bonds: How the Oil and Gas Industry Could Soon Become a Financial Burden

Overproduction, a global price war, and the COVID-19 pandemic have led many oil and gas companies in New Mexico and across the West to file for bankruptcy. This means orphaned wells – inactive wells that bankrupt companies have failed to plug – are left behind to pollute the state, which also has to pay the clean-up costs due to inadequate bonding requirements. At the same time, the pandemic has resulted in revenue shortfalls for our state budget. (State-level data on orphaned wells, estimated clean-up costs)

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.

Recent Publications

Exempting Social Security income from taxation: Not targeted, not necessary, not cheap

August 31st, 2021|

Fact Sheet Several proposals to exempt Social Security income from the state income tax are being considered, but none of them would be beneficial to New Mexico. This fact sheet explains why these bills: would not benefit those New Mexicans who need relief the most; are extremely costly; and are solutions in search of a problem. (State-level data on income tax payments on Social Security benefits)

Health-in-All-Policies for New Mexico

August 5th, 2021|

Report Your state of health is dependent on many variables - including where you live, how much you earn, and even how far you went in school. These are called "social determinants of health" and they not only impact your health but they also impact your ability to choose a healthy lifestyle. Everyone's health could be improved if lawmakers took these determinants of health into account when creating public policies. This report offers an overview of the determinants of health as well as the policies that can improve health for all.

All publications

Recent Blog Posts

New Mexico taxpayers foot the bill for abandoned oil wells

August 3rd, 2021|

When an oil well runs dry, the oil company is supposed to clean it up and cap it to make sure it doesn’t release dangerous pollutants into our air and water. But what happens when the oil company goes bankrupt? Do New Mexico’s taxpayers end up footing the bill? Find out more in this short video.

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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.

All news coverage

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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