Veronica C. García, Ed.D., Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement on the vote by the Las Cruces City Council to raise the gross receipts tax to make up revenue lost due to the omnibus tax bill—which cut taxes for profitable corporations without any requirement to create jobs—that was passed in the last moments of the 2013 legislative session:
“We are disappointed—although not surprised—that the cost of tax cuts for profitable corporations are starting to be passed along to working New Mexicans. By raising the gross receipts tax in order to make up for lost revenue, cities are forced to pass the cost along to consumers in a way that hits the lowest income New Mexicans—the working poor—the hardest.
“New Mexico families that earn the least money are already paying a much higher percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes than are the New Mexicans with the highest incomes. The poorest of the poor—families making less than $17,000—pay more than 10 percent of that already meager income in state and local taxes. Meanwhile, those earning more than $300,000 pay less than 5 percent.
“In a state with such a high rate of low-income working families it makes no sense to further burden those families—and decrease their purchasing power—in order to pay for a tax cut strategy that has historically failed to produce a significant number of new jobs.
“Since New Mexico has been pursuing this failed economic development strategy for the last decade, it should come as no surprise that we’ve finally fallen to dead last in the nation for child well-being in the KIDS COUNT rankings. Funding for K-12 education has failed to keep up with inflation, and higher education funding has been drastically cut. Instead of this backward approach, New Mexico should employ the proven strategy of investing in human capital (education and health) to ensure that we have a healthy and well-educated workforce to attract 21st century jobs.”