Reckless and wrong: The long-term damage of Gov. Martinez’s higher education veto

Reckless and Wrong


On April 7, 2017, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the entire state budget for higher education. Every cent for every college and university in New Mexico.


A special legislative session, costing taxpayers $50,000 a day, had to be called in May to fix the governor’s veto mess. But Gov. Martinez’s reckless veto left long-term damage. 

New Mexico State University President and former Republican Governor Garrey Carruthers has a unique position to understand the impacts of the governor’s actions. He spoke out harshly against Gov. Martinez after her veto:

“The message the [Martinez] veto sent to our 133,505 registered students and their families…leaves them confused and wondering whether they should enroll in a New Mexico college or whether they’ll be able to finish their degree and graduate.

We’ve worked hard to recruit high-quality faculty members to our institutions, yet some are now looking at employment where there is more certainty in higher education. 

When someone’s looking to locate a company here and they see this kind of an occurrence, one would have to wonder about the political environment and whether this is a place their company might be comfortable.” [1]

And President Carruthers was quoted in the Washington Post saying:

“I’m concerned that NMSU and the state’s other universities now appear to be caught up in a political strategy.” [2]


The Elephant in the Room


Gov. Martinez’s real priority is pushing through even more tax breaks for those at the top. 

Since Susana Martinez became governor, devastating funding cuts have meant skyrocketing college tuition and loss of critical faculty and teaching jobs.

But New Mexicans get it, even if Gov. Martinez doesn’t. We understand that investments in higher education create ladders of opportunity that lead to good-paying jobs and help develop the kind of workforce that attracts high-paying jobs and keeps our young people in New Mexico.

When confronted with these decisions our policy makers must make sound decisions about responsibly raising revenues for the state while avoiding Gov. Martinez’s strategy of shortsighted tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected.



[1] Carruthers, Garrey. “Unintended message a bad one.” Guest column. Albuquerque Journal, 16 April 2017.

[2] Strauss, Valerie. “New Mexico Gov. Martinez vetoes higher education funding. All of it.” Washington Post, 17 April 2017.



Earlier this year, Governor Susana Martinez did something no one could believe. She vetoed the entire higher education budget for the state of New Mexico. Every dollar for every college and university in the state.[1]


This drastic move sent shockwaves throughout the state and did damage to our education system before the legislature stepped in to fix her mess. The legislature restored the funding, but only after New Mexico’s college students were used as pawns in a “political strategy.”[2]


Shockwaves throughout New Mexico


The veto threw our colleges and universities into crisis mode. The President of New Mexico State University feared that “many of our state’s brightest students will move to other states to pursue their higher education” because of the governor’s decision to strip every dollar from it.[3]

LEARN MORE: NMSU President Garrey Carruthers criticizes Gov. Martinez’s higher ed veto

The economic implications could have been dire too — some high-quality faculty members began looking for jobs in states with more certainty in the higher education system and businesses looking to locate in a state that values education may have reconsidered their options.

The Chronicle of Higher Education echoed that view: “The budget situation in New Mexico has drawn national attention that could make any educator considering working in the state balk.”[4]

Education — and higher education in particular — is the backbone of any well-trained workforce and, therefore, essential to a thriving economy.

As Armelle Casau, PhD, a research and policy analyst with New Mexico Voices for Children, put it: “Anyone given a chance to make an investment that is guaranteed to give a positive return year after year would do it…Public higher education is one such investment because it improves the workforce and helps families get out of poverty, both of which grow the state’s economy.“[5]

Yet, in New Mexico, Gov. Martinez has overseen deep cuts to public higher education.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, New Mexico slashed its investments in public higher education by 30% between 2008-2016 (on a per-pupil, inflation-adjusted basis).[6] More cuts were made for 2017-2018, too.

LEARN MORE: Investing in education pays off economically, but New Mexico’s schools are chronically under-funded



Out-of-touch with New Mexico values


New Mexicans understand the value of having a great education system. Education allows hardworking New Mexicans to create more opportunities for themselves. The investments in education we make now translate into a better quality of life for our children as they grow into adults and look to start a life.

We know many of our young people already struggle to stay in New Mexico after graduation because they can’t find jobs. But better economic prospects are directly tied to the quality of our education system. And the quality of our education system is directly proportional to the investments we make in it.

We need leaders who value education and will fight for it, not use it as a pawn in a political game like Gov. Martinez did.

We know that investments in higher education:

  • Create ladders of opportunity that lead to good-paying jobs
  • Develop the kind of workforce that attracts high-paying jobs and will keep our young people in New Mexico
  • Mean our policymakers must make sound decisions about how to raise revenue and use resources to avoid more short-sighted tax cuts



[1] Strauss, Valerie. “New Mexico Gov. Martinez vetoes higher education funding. All of it.” Washington Post, 17 April 2017.

[2] Carruthers, Garrey. “Unintended message a bad one.” Guest column. Albuquerque Journal, 16 April 2017.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Quintana, Chris. “The next higher-ed funding battle to watch may be in New Mexico.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 April 2017.

[5] Casau, Armelle. “Despite recent budget fix, higher education is still underfunded.” New Mexico Voices for Children, 5 June 2017.

[6] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “State Map: Funding Down, Tuition Up.” 19 May 2016.




Gov. Martinez supports a proposal to revamp our state tax system that could blow a $44 million hole in the state budget [1] and raise taxes on New Mexico’s poorest families by 66%.[2]


You’d also start paying gross receipts tax on things you take for granted now, like:


  • groceries
  • textbooks
  • hearing aids
  • nonprofit nursing homes
  • prescription medicines
  • prosthetic limbs
  • back-to-school purchases
  • goods purchased from charities

Click on the graphic from New Mexico Voices for Children to the right for a breakdown of the impacts of the “tax reform” proposal.

Unfair. Irresponsible.


The governor’s “tax reform” plan is unfair and irresponsible. Not only will you pay more in taxes on critical things your family needs, but the plan Gov. Martinez supports could blow a $44 million hole in the state budget. That would mean even more funding cuts for our schools, healthcare, and law enforcement.

Under the plan Gov. Martinez supports:

  • Corporations would get a 24% corporate income tax break (this is on top of the huge tax breaks they got in 2013 under Gov. Martinez)
  • Those in the state’s lowest tax bracket (i.e. our poorest families) would see their personal income tax rate rise by 66%
  • There would likely have to be even more funding cuts for our schools, healthcare, and law enforcement because it could blow a $44 million hole in the state budget

There’s a better, more fair way


We New Mexicans willingly pay taxes to fund our communities’ needs. Taxes pay for the things that we need in order to prosper and create opportunity for ourselves and our families – education, roads and highways, public safety and public health, and much more.

But we expect our taxes to be fair.

We expect the wealthy and well-connected to pay their fair share. Under the plan Gov. Martinez supports, hardworking families will suffer while well-connected lobbyists and corporations rack up even more tax breaks.



[1] McKay, Dan. “Analysis: Tax overhaul would slash revenue.” Albuquerque Journal, 13 June 2017.

[2] New Mexico Voices for Children. “2017 Special Session Resources.” May 2017.





2017 Landscape Poll

Every year, the Center for Civic Policy (CCP) commissions a statewide poll to get a reading of public opinion regarding some key public policy issues as New Mexico prepares for another legislative session. The poll was conducted on December 15 thru 19, 2016.

* Most Important Issues? Education and the Economy Concern Voters Most

Of all the issues facing New Mexico, what is the single most important one to you that the state government in Santa Fe can do something about? And what is the next most important issue? % Mentioned as Top 2 Responses

  • 39% Education/Schools33 Economy/Jobs
  • 12% Crime/Drugs/DUI
  • 11% Illegal Immigration in General/Border Security
  •   9% Health Care
  •   8% Budget Issues/Spending
  •   6% Children Safety/Childrens Issues
  •   6% Corruption/Bad Politicians/Money in Politics
  •   %6 Taxes

* Conversion Therapy? New Mexicans reject it

Conversion therapy refers to programs by some mental health practitioners that try to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Do you support or oppose the state of New Mexico prohibiting these practices from being used on children under 18? (If support/oppose) Do you feel strongly about that or not?

  • Support – Strongly…………………. 54%     Support – Not Strongly…………… 6
  • Oppose – Strongly …………………. 22       Oppose – Not Strongly …………… 10
  • (Don’t Know) ………………………… 8
  • Total Support………………………. 60%     Total Oppose ………………………. 32

* Coyote Hunting Contests? New Mexicans don’t like it

In many areas of New Mexico, there are organized coyote killing contests where participants randomly target and kill as many coyotes as possible in order to win prizes for the most, largest, and smallest coyotes killed. Do you support or oppose coyote killing contests? (If choice) Do you feel strongly about this or not?

  • Support – Strongly…………………. 15%           Support – Not Strongly…………… 10
  • Oppose – Strongly …………………. 44             Oppose – Not Strongly …………… 17
  • (Don’t Know) ………………………… 14
  • Total Support………………………. 25%          Total Oppose ………………………. 61

* Transfer Federal Public Lands to State Control? No way

Thinking about national forests, national parks, wildlife refuges, and other national public lands in New Mexico, do you support or oppose the New Mexico government and taxpayers assuming full control of managing these public lands, including paying for all related costs, including the cost maintenance, law enforcement, and preventing and fighting wildfires currently paid for by the federal government? (If choice) Do you feel strongly about this or not?

  • Support – Strongly…………………. 21%             Support – Not Strongly…………… 10
  • Oppose – Strongly …………………. 34               Oppose – Not Strongly …………… 17
  • (Don’t Know) ………………………… 18
  • Total Support………………………. 31%            Total Oppose ………………………. 51

* Protect and Conserve Wildlands and Recreation opportunities? Off the charts

New Mexico is known for its vast wildlands and recreation opportunities that draw people from near and far. How important do you think it is it for New Mexico’s leaders to protect and conserve these opportunities and the lands are they are today for future generations – very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all?

  • Very Important ……………………… 75%              Somewhat Important …………….. 17
  • Not Too Important…………………. 2                    Not Important at All ………………. 2
  • (Don’t Know) ………………………… 4
  • Total Important…………………… 93%              Total Not Important…………….. 3

* Transition Away from Fossil Fuels? Do it

How important do you think it is for the New Mexico economy to eventually transition completely away from fossil fuels like gas and oil – very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all?

  • Very Important ……………………… 38%                Somewhat  Important …………….. 25
  • Not Too Important…………………. 11                   Not Important at All ………………. 22
  • (Don’t Know) ………………………… 5
  • Total Important…………………… 63%               Total Not Important…………….. 33

* Legalize, Tax, and Regulate Marijuana Sales? It’s time

Now I am going to ask about a proposal to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana sales to adults 21 and over. Supporters say this proposal would remove $400 million in annual sales from the criminal market in the first year alone and put that money into the New Mexico economy; create 11,000 new jobs; and direct more revenue to education, healthcare, and addiction treatment without raising taxes. Would you support or oppose this proposal? (If support/oppose) Do you feel strongly about this or not?

  • Support – Strongly…………………. 53%               Support – Not Strongly…………… 11
  • Oppose – Strongly …………………. 21                 Oppose – Not Strongly …………… 9
  • (Don’t Know) ………………………… 6
  • Total Support………………………. 64%              Total Oppose ………………………. 30

* Priority Choices? Invest

Which one of the following do you think should be the higher priority for the Governor and New Mexico legislature right now:

Keeping taxes low on businesses and individuals, ……………………………………… 24%

OR Investing in key priorities like education, healthcare, and job creation…….. 60

(Both) ……………………………………………12

(Neither) ………………………………………..1        (Don’t Know) ………………………………….3



The 2017 Landscape Poll was conducted by Third Eye Strategies. This survey contained 601 active registered voters who say they voted in 2016 presidential election. Voters of all ages and places in the states were interviewed by live callers. Respondents were interviewed between4:00 and 9:00 pm between December 15th and 19th, 2016. 43.9% (264) of interviews were conducted on cell phones. The data were adjusted slightly by gender, age, ethnicity, and region to best represent the distribution of active likely voters and those recently registered. All polls are subject to errors caused by interviewing a sample of persons, rather than the entire population. In 95 cases out of 100, the responses to this survey should be within plus or minus 4.48 percentage points of those that would have been obtained from interviewing the entire population of likely voters. 

How tax cuts for the powerful are behind the backlogs

by James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for ChildrenAugust 30, 2016

To be safe, healthy, and financially secure is something we all want for ourselves, our children and our families. New Mexico can be a place where communities are safe, people are healthy and thriving, and everyone has the opportunity to build a secure future.

We know what it takes to create strong communities―good schools, roads, libraries, and so forth. Unfortunately, New Mexico has not been making the public investments necessary for this to happen. Instead, we’ve been following the long-discredited trickle-down policy of cutting taxes for the powerful few at the expense of the common good. Worse yet, even as these tax cuts drain the pool of money needed for public investments, some lawmakers are insisting that we need to continue down this counterproductive path.

It seems that every week there is a new story in the newspaper showing the consequences of choosing tax cuts for the powerful over public investment. One of the most egregious, which has a huge impact on public safety, is the backlog of thousands of rape kits with DNA evidence that have not been processed. Each of these kits represents a violent crime, a victim, and a perpetrator. Until we process the DNA evidence the police and district attorneys cannot find, arrest, prosecute, and convict sex offenders. This backlog undoubtedly represents hundreds—if not thousands—of sexual predators who have not only escaped justice, but who have been free to roam our neighborhoods and communities. The Legislature recently set aside some money to address part of this backlog, but lawmakers said there wasn’t enough revenue to do them all.

Another example has serious financial consequences for families trying to make ends meet. The state’s tax department has a backlog of tax refund checks that have not been sent out because the returns have been flagged for more scrutiny. But that scrutiny is slow in coming because, apparently, the department doesn’t have the staff it needs to move these rebates along.

Then there’s the backlog of applications and renewals for the ID cards that patients need in order to purchase medical marijuana. Most patients needing medical marijuana have chronic health problems such as cancer, debilitating pain, or epilepsy. Some are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. These patients are willing to spend their own money for a medicinal product that offers them relief, but they can only do so if they have an up-to-date ID. Department of Health officials say they have doubled the number of staff who process these cards—from four workers to eight—and even brought on three temporary workers, but this is clearly not enough. They recently extended expired ID cards, but this is just a temporary fix.

The state’s Income Support Division also suffers from a staff shortage, which had made it impossible for the department to process applications for food and health care assistance in a timely manner. We’ve even recently learned that managers have been falsifying applications for emergency food assistance so the department looks like its meeting its deadline. This has delayed food assistance to some of the hungriest and neediest kids and families in New Mexico.

New Mexico communities cannot thrive if our state lacks the revenue it takes to make these investments―and others―in our well-being. The way forward is for lawmakers to repeal the tax cuts and end the practice of letting the most powerful manipulate the tax code to their benefit. It’s time to focus on what helps all New Mexicans.

James Jimenez, MPA, is executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children and has worked with state and city budgets for many years.

Originally published at NM Voices for Children

New Mexico’s Budget Crisis: “It’s No Laughing Matter” (RADIO SPOT)

With the prospect of a special session of the legislature fast approaching to address a looming budget crisis, the Center for Civic Policy is running this radio ad in selected areas of the state which offers our take on the issue and calls upon constituents to take action:

A thirty-second radio spot can hardly do justice to this fiscal train wreck. A bit of context is in order.

The State of New Mexico faces a serious budget deficit as the result of a shortfall in revenues. Revenue projections made back in January were overly optimistic, it seems. It now appears certain that Governor Martinez soon will call a special session of the legislature to fix a growing budget crisis.

The Governor’s answer is a 5 percent across the board cut in funding for state agencies. New revenues are off the table, she says.

To call this approach unwise would be an understatement. How about unconscionable.

Consider these facts about the quagmire in which New Mexico finds itself:

  • 49th in child poverty
  • K-12 funding is nearly 11% less per student than pre-2008 recession levels
  • 7,000 fewer children fewer children receive child care assistance than in 2010
  • Medicaid was already underfunded this year by $86 million, causing cuts of over $400 million in health care services when lost federal matching dollars are included.
  • Low- and middle-income New Mexicans pay twice the rate in state and local taxes as the richest 1 percent.

We could go on and on.

Low oil prices are cited as the cause of the crisis. But overlooked in the midst of all the hand-wringing, are the horribly irresponsible tax policies enacted in recent years.

The cold hard truth of the matter is this: The Governor is determined to protect her prized corporate tax giveaways by making New Mexico’s working families pay for them.

In 2013 Governor Martinez and the legislature gave huge tax cuts and tax breaks to large corporations, many of them out-of-state. These so-called “business incentives” were supposed to cause an explosion of job creation.

Well, it hasn’t worked. They just took the money and ran.

Today New Mexico has the 3rd highest jobless rate in the nation.

It stands to reason that our continuing underinvestment in education and healthcare is making New Mexico a less than desirable place for companies that are looking for a place to relocate.

A better answer is for legislators to say “no” to more cuts. It’s time to make corporations and the well-connected pay their fair share.


What’s really behind New Mexico’s budget woes

By Bill Jordan, senior policy adviser and government relations officer for NM Voices for Children.

Most complex systems — like airplanes, for example — have built-in redundancies. So for a catastrophic failure to occur — such as falling from the sky — there generally have to be several things going wrong. Usually all at once. The state budget is a complex system, too. Sadly, it’s plunging toward disaster. To fix it, we need to look at all the things that are going wrong.

Most news outlets and the pundits they quote have only been focusing on one problem: low oil and gas prices. If we’re going to be successful in fixing this thing before it crashes and burns, we need to look at the other failing pieces. Namely, that the state hasn’t been collecting enough money to cover all of its important expenses like education, health care and public safety.

We’ve been passing big tax cuts since 2003. Tax cuts have been thrown at profitable corporations and the people earning the most money. These tax cuts were supposed to create jobs. They didn’t. Back in 2003, before the recession, this wasn’t so much of a problem. Oil and gas prices were steady and the economy was strong. Today, however, New Mexico’s economic recovery crawls along, we’re still waiting on those promised jobs to materialize, and bargain-basement oil and gas prices don’t look like they’re going back up any time soon. It’s time to take a second look at all those tax cuts.

Let’s start with the personal income tax rate cut for those at the very top of the scale. Since 2003, the wealthiest New Mexicans have seen their income tax rate cut almost in half. These days, for all practical purposes, we have just one income tax rate, and it’s the same whether you earn $16,000 or $16 million. Then there’s the very generous deduction for capital gains income. Capital gains is the money people make on the stock market and in real estate deals. People with capital gains income get to deduct half of that income for tax purposes. When was the last time you got to subtract half of every paycheck from your income tax bill? I’ll tell you when: never.

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Primary Election Day – June 7: Don’t Forget to Vote!

Primary Election day is Tuesday, June 7. Polls open 7 am to 7 pm.

Bernalillo County Voting Convenience Centers:

Doña Ana County Voting Convenience Centers:

2016 New Mexico Landscape Survey

The Center for Civic Policy (CCP) commissioned a statewide poll in early December of 2015 for the purpose of getting a reading of public opinion regarding some key public policy issues as New Mexico prepares for another legislative session.

Here are some key takeaways:

Issues Environment

Voters were asked, “Of all the issues facing New Mexico, what is the single most important one to you that the state government in Santa Fe can do something about? And what is the next most important issue?” Voters overwhelmingly care most about two issues – schools and education (34% top two issue) and the economy and jobs (28% top two issue). Concerns about crime/drugs/DUI (12% top two issue) lag far behind.

Economic Justice

We tested two statements describing the relationship between the economic challenges facing working families and the power dynamics in New Mexico. These were adapted from the “Everyone Economics” polling conducted by Americans United for Change and other national groups. Voters were asked whether they agree or disagree with the following:

Statement #1

“In New Mexico today, too many politicians have handed power over to corporate lobbyists and changed the rules, giving out big tax breaks and favors to the wealthy and to out-of-state corporations while wages have stayed low, middle class incomes have flat-lined, jobs have disappeared and working families and small businesses struggle just to stay afloat.”

 Among active voters an overwhelming 75% agreed with this critique of New Mexico today with 16% disagreeing for a net agreement of +59%. Those who strongly agreed (59%) surpassed those who strongly disagreed (7%). There was hardly any daylight between agreement among Hispanics (76%) and Anglos (75%).

Statement #2

“The same-old trickle-down policies simply aren’t working. Out-of-state corporate CEOs and the well-connected keep getting tax breaks, while ordinary New Mexicans struggle living paycheck to paycheck. We need to reform state government so that it works for working families, not just wealthy special interests.”

Agreement with the second statement was even stronger. Among active voters, 77% agreed with 16% disagreeing for a net agreement of +65%. Those who strongly agreed (63%) surpassed those who strongly disagreed (8%). Hispanic agreement was even higher (88%) compared to Anglos (72%).

Voters in every age, education, ethnicity, income, and political and ideological group share the overall critique about the economy and government. Hispanic women are literally universal in their agreement that the economy isn’t working for average people and needs fundamental reform.

Automatic Voter Registration

A majority of voters (58%) support automatically registering voters when they turn 18 or move to New Mexico, and allowing them to remain registered when they move anywhere in the state. Just a third (35%) oppose it.

Religious Refusal Laws

A majority (51%) of voters oppose new religious refusal laws that would expand the ways in which people could be exempt from laws and regulations that conflict with their religious beliefs. Only 28% support this while a fifth (20%) cannot offer an opinion.

Planned Parenthood

Despite the efforts of anti-choice zealots to smear and destroy Planned Parenthood, those already favorable towards the organization have become more so. 45% New Mexico voters had a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood. Now, while the overall opinion has stayed the same (46%), intense favorability – those giving it a rating of ‘9’ or ‘10’ – have increased by 11 points. Those choosing lower favorable scores, between ‘6’ and ‘8’, have fallen by a similar share of 11 points. Unfavorable opinion of the group has also increased (from 30% in January to 36% in December) overall but not in intensity. Those without an opinion, either a neutral rating of ‘5’ or unawareness of the organization, fell from 25% to 19%.

While the state of New Mexico doesn’t directly provide funding to Planned Parenthood, voters oppose efforts to permanently block it. Overall, 57% oppose the state blocking funding while just around a third (35%) support it. Only 8% fail to offer an opinion. Hispanics oppose this ban at the same rate as Anglos. A significant gender gap emerges among Anglos based on education. Anglo men who didn’t graduate college split on this while non-college graduate women oppose it by almost a two-to-one margin. Among Anglos who did graduate from college, men and women oppose it similarly.

“Right to Work”

When asked to say which issues they find more important for the New Mexico government to deal with, just two people volunteer anything about passing a “right to work” law while 30% of all voters say they want the state to address the economy, jobs, and raising wages. After this open-ended question, we gave voters a choice five issue to pick as the top priority for the Governor and state legislature to address next year:

  • Growing New Mexico jobs
  • Funding for public schools
  • Public safety, crime and prison reform
  • Restoring trust to state elections, and
  • Right to work legislation

Just 5% selected “right to work.” Jobs (33%) and public schools (32%) were the overwhelming choices, followed by public safety (18%). A similar share (6%) pick restoring trust to state elections.

Food Tax

While New Mexicans are divided on many issues, they come together in opposition to imposing a sales tax on food. Four-fifths (80%) oppose it and just 15% support it. When couched as part of a broader effort to lower the sales tax on all goods, opposition stays strong (62%) while support comes in at just 29%. Voters in all income groups oppose it similarly.

Best Approach to Address Crime: Tougher Penalties vs. Treatment Programs

When it comes to reducing crime, more voters in New Mexico believe in to focusing more resources on programs like early-education, drug abuse treatment, mental health services, and family crisis intervention (49%) than mandating life sentences for anyone who commits three violent crimes (35%). Partisanship, age, and educational attainment split voters on this question. Hispanics and Anglos, men and women, prefer treatment over tougher penalties.

The 2016 Landscape Poll was conducted by Third Eye Strategies. This was a survey of 602 active voters in the state of New Mexico. Respondents were interviewed between 6:00 and 9:00 pm on December 4th through 7th, 2015. 51.5% (310) of interviews were conducted on cell phones. The data were adjusted slightly by gender, age, and ethnicity by region to best represent the distribution of active likely voters and those recently registered.

All polls are subject to errors caused by interviewing a sample of persons, rather than the entire population. In 95 cases out of 100, the responses to this survey should be within plus or minus 4.28 percentage points of those that would have been obtained from interviewing the entire population of likely voters.





Family-Friendly Businesses

The New Mexico Family-Friendly Business Award was created by the Task Force on Work Life Balance to recognize New Mexico employers and businesses that offer family-friendly employee benefits and promote increasing the number of businesses with family centered polices and work force access to them.

NMTFWLBThe board and staff of the Center for Civic Policy are proud that our organization has been recognized as one of these best practice family-friendly work places.

What are the benefits of family-friendly best practices? Here’s what the Task Force on Work Life Balance has to say:

Best practice employers foster flexibility to achieve a better balance between work and family responsibilities for all employees. From reduced absenteeism to improved productivity and job satisfaction, there are significant benefits for employees and employers in providing flexibilities for work and family balance. Work and family flexibilities ensure employers and employees balance work and family commitments by using employment arrangements that help employees manage family and lifestyle commitments while taking into account business needs. The benefits of work and family flexibilities can be achieved in all workplaces, regardless of the size of the business, by developing and implementing family-friendly workplace policies.

Our baby steps toward expanding early childhood services are not getting us far

By Bill Jordan, MA, is Senior Policy Advisor/Governmental Relations for NM Voices for Children

Thousands of adorable and inquisitive youngsters are trotting off to school for the first time this month.

From all around the state these wide-eyed kiddos are beginning their school adventures. In honor of this new class, we thought we’d look back at how New Mexico prepared them for school, and look forward to how babies born this year will fare in their preschool years.

In 2010, the year this new class was born, 30,733 of New Mexico’s children were enrolled in the state’s early childhood programs that help children prepare for school: home visiting, pre-kindergarten, and child care assistance. If you think that sounds like a lot, it’s actually only about a quarter of all our preschoolers. Think that’s bad? It gets worse.

Despite all the legislative activity around early childhood services, only 28,701 children—or about 2,000 fewer—are benefiting from these same early learning programs this year. Enrollment has increased for both home visiting and pre-K—and that’s great—but nearly 8,000 children have been dropped from the child care assistance roles. That’s especially troubling because that’s the program that serves children for most of their preschool years. While home visiting focuses on the first year or two of life, and pre-K serves only four-year-olds, child care assistance serves kids throughout their preschool years.

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