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New Mexico

The Alliance’s lead ally in New Mexico, New Mexico Voices for Children, is a nonpartisan, statewide advocacy organization that works to create systems-level sustainable change to improve the lives of New Mexico’s children in three key areas: family economic security, access to high-quality, cradle-to-career education, and health care and healthy communities. 

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 51% (111,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL (2021). This number represents a decrease from 59% (137,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% FPL than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing 

In April, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the state budget for fiscal 2024. The budget totals $9.57 billion in recurring general fund spending, a 14 percent increase over fiscal 2023 levels.3

Key Revenue Sources:

    • Personal Income Tax (1.7%-4.9%)
    • State Sales Tax (5.13%)
    • Land Grant Permanent Fund 

Permanent State Funding Streams Dedicated to Early Childhood: Yes 

The New Mexico Early Childhood Trust Fund annually distributes the greater of 5 percent of the total value of the fund or $150M. The funds are dedicated to prenatal-to-five services and the state’s newly formed Early Childhood Education and Care Department.

A constitutional amendment also mandates a Land Grant Permanent Fund Distribution for Early Childhood Education. The distribution is equal to 1.25 percent of the total value of the fund and must be dedicated to early childhood education (60 percent of the allocation) and public education (40 percent of the allocation). The early childhood education distribution totals roughly $100 million annually. 

Political Alignment: Aligned Democrat

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democratic controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Democrat.4

Types of Ballot Measures Available:5  Three

    • Legislature-initiated constitutional amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Legislature-initiated state statutes – Appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Veto referenda – When citizens of New Mexico disagree with a statute or legislative bill enacted by the state legislature, they can collect signatures to force the issue to a vote. If enough signatures are collected, the bill is placed on the statewide ballot.

Key State Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:6

2023 Policy Progress:

More than $210 million additional dollars in funding were approved for child care, Pre-k, home visiting, and other programs for New Mexico’s youngest children. The state Child Tax Credit will now provide up to $600 per child for lower income families, returning an additional $105 million/year every year to 350,000 children in the state (more than 75% of them children of color).

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:7

More than $210 million additional dollars in funding were approved for child care, pre-k, home visiting, and other programs for New Mexico’s youngest children.

One of the many changes made by a large omnibus tax policy bill, the state child tax credit will now provide up to $600 per child for lower income families, returning an additional $105 million/year every year to 350,000 children in the state (more than 75% of them children of color).

During the 2023 legislative session, New Mexico lawmakers passed a bill to provide universal healthy school meals and allocated $20 million to the program in the state budget as a key expansion of the statewide food initiative.

Progressive revenue raising measures were included in HB547, the House tax omnibus package passed out of committee, including two new personal income tax brackets for the highest-income earners, an increase in corporate income taxes for most corporations, and a limiting of the capital gains deduction.

The legislature appropriated $10 million to increase maximum TANF benefits.

Advocates worked with policymakers to pass HB7, the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Freedom Act, which protects reproductive health care and gender affirming health care by prohibiting local municipalities and other public bodies from interfering with a person’s ability to access these services. The law also prohibits any public body from imposing laws, ordinances, policies or regulations that prevent patients from receiving reproductive or gender-affirming care.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in New Mexico, New Mexico Voices for Children, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas: 

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Child and
Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health

Family
Supports

Family Economic Security 

Early Childhood Infrastructure

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.

RECENT ADVOCACY SNAPSHOT:

New Mexico Coalition Wins Guaranteed Income Pilot for Immigrant Families

A coalition of New Mexico advocates recently launched the New Mexico Guaranteed Income Pilot Program for Immigrant Families, an 18-month initiative to address poverty and economic security. The program’s evaluations are showing participating families reporting increases in housing and job security, as well as improved education outcomes for their children.

Read More »

NOTES:

1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

5 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

6 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

7 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:

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New Mexico
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More State Demographic Data:

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New Mexico