Narrative Shift Campaign
Led by Generation Justice in Albuquerque, the Narrative Shift Campaign highlights youth resilience and leadership in New Mexico. It also raises awareness about the importance of investing in young people throughout the state. Stay tuned for more information about this campaign in mid 2021.
Creating Equity in Education (CEE) Project
is designed to support the work of the Southern New Mexico (SNM) Equity Forum. Infusing equity into the fabric of the New Mexico educational system is going to take a concerted effort among all stakeholders, as well as greater awareness about what equity in education looks like and how to achieve it. With greater understanding, the public can rally around our educators, families, and youth to help transform the educational system so it works for all students in our state.
The first component of the CEE project includes the development of a youth-driven public awareness campaign with creative graphics, audio, and video.
Alongside the public awareness campaign, the CEE team is also working to provide input into the development of a long-range plan for education in the state.
The third component of the project entails outreach and support to current educators and equity councils in southern NM.
Funding support is being provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more details about the SNM Equity Forum: https://www.lablc.org/equity.
The Larger Context of Inequities in NM
Select Charts from “Tax Policy: A Powerful Tool to Advance Racial Equity in New Mexico” by Paige Knight, MPP, Dec. 2020, New Mexico Voices for Children.
In New Mexico, children of color comprise 76% of the child population (Figure I).
In New Mexico, white households have a median net worth of $133,000 while households of color have a median net worth of only $31,000 (see Figure II).
Home ownership makes up about two-thirds of the wealth of an average American household, but, as Figure IV shows, white families in New Mexico are far more likely to own their homes than are families of color.
The median income for white households with children is $72,200 in New Mexico. As you can see in Figure V, it’s significantly lower for Hispanic, Black, and Native American households with children.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the long-standing health and financial inequities that exist for our communities of color as a result of systemic racism (see Figure VI).
In New Mexico, employment rates among workers in the lowest wage level had fallen 14% by the end of September compared to the beginning of the year, while high-wage workers saw their employment return to pre-pandemic levels (Figure VIII).
New Mexico’s Tax Code is a Barrier to Racial Equity
When looking at the combination of state and local taxes that New Mexicans pay, our state tax system is regressive and exacerbates income inequality. New Mexicans earning the lowest incomes pay 10% of their income in state and local taxes while the top income earners pay just over 6% of their income in these same taxes (see Figure X).
As shown in Figure XI, the share of white taxpayers in each income group increases as you move from the lowest income group on the left to the highest income group on the right (white taxpayers file 45% of all tax returns while taxpayers of color file 55% of all returns).
This upside-down tax system has made our tax system grossly inequitable, starved our schools, health care systems, and other vital services of important funding. Regressive tax policies were enacted because, for far too long, the discussions around tax cuts, deductions, credits, and rates were centered on improving conditions for the wealthy and well-connected.
But in 2019, the conversation began to shift towards how tax policy can be utilized to improve the lives of families and children throughout our state. Policymakers restored some progressivity to our tax code and introduced a new personal income tax bracket for the highest 3% of earners, increased a tax credit for working families earning low incomes, and scaled back a tax giveaway for wealthy New Mexicans. Together, these measures resulted in a tax cut for 70% of New Mexico’s families with children while raising some important revenue to invest in our communities and schools.
Much more can be done in NM to advance equity through our tax code and to generate more revenue for vital services like education. The full report is at https://www.nmvoices.org/archives/14895. Tax Policy: A Powerful Tool to Advance Racial Equity in New Mexico” by Paige Knight, MPP, Dec. 2020.