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Baltimore mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, who 'Fought for All.' Also on our rundown: Rick Perry headed for door as Energy Secretary; and EPA holds its only hearing on rolling back methane regulations.

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While controversy swirls at the White House, Chicago teachers go on strike, and Democratic primary contender retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

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Low-income New Mexicans Leave Millions in Tax Credits Unclaimed

January 8, 2007

As tax time approaches, New Mexicans are leaving between $76 million and $136 million with the IRS that could be claimed by low-income families, according to Sharon Kayne with New Mexico Voices for Children. She says a lot of folks don't know about tax credits and rebates like the federal earned income tax credit, child credits and certain state credits. She believes part of the problem is that many low-income people often file their taxes with places that offer "refund anticipation loans."

"The refund anticipation loans charge an extraordinary amount, up to a third of your rebate, and often they don't decrease the waiting time by more than a week or so. They're really considered by many to be sort of a predatory lending practice."

Kayne adds there is a free tax preparation alternative that will allow most New Mexicans to get their refund just a few weeks after filing.

"Free tax preparation is available through Tax Help New Mexico to any New Mexican who is over the age of 65 or makes less than $39,000, which is about 70 percent of the population."

Free tax preparation help offices will begin opening across the state at the end of the month and some locations will offer help in Spanish. Locations and hours are available by calling 1-800-453-1304, or visiting www.cnm.edu/taxhelp.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM