Saturday, January 28, 2023

Play

A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

Play

Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

Play

"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

NM Voters to Decide Major Funding Shift for Early Childhood Education

Play

Wednesday, October 26, 2022   

In educational performance, New Mexico consistently ranks at or near the bottom among the 50 states, but it could change if an influx of dedicated money is approved by voters next month.

The state's economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas, which also means a roller coaster of boom-and-bust cycles. But the boom times have led the state to accumulate $26 billion in its Land Grant Permanent Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.

On Nov. 8, voters will decide if an additional 1.25% of the fund's growth should be spent to support early childhood care and education, as well as at-risk students.

Jacob Vigil, senior research and policy analyst for New Mexico Voices for Children, explained why voting for the proposal should be easy.

"Not only would it not impact the General Fund, it wouldn't be a tax on New Mexicans," Vigil pointed out. "It also would not impact the solvency of the fund in any real way. We've already been withdrawing 5% a year out for other beneficiaries, mostly public education."

Polls indicate a majority of voters support the measure, although critics argued the fund already provides three-quarters of a billion dollars for education, and tapping it further jeopardizes future interest income for the state.

The ballot question follows creation of the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department, which would receive about 60% of the new funding.

The measure would dedicate money to be spent on universal preschool and child care, and bolster home-visiting programs for new parents. Another roughly $100 million would be directed to the state's K-12 programs.

Vigil thinks it makes sense for New Mexico, where more than one in four children under age five live in poverty, one of the highest rates in the nation.

"This fund is drawn from the wealth of our state," Vigil noted. "It should be something that benefits future generations, especially since we are ranked so low, so consistently, on measures of child well-being and education."

If the amendment passes, 40% of the additional distribution would address some of the concerns raised by a lawsuit known as Yazzie and Martinez v. New Mexico. In 2018, a state District Court judge ruled New Mexico was failing to prepare students equally for college and a career - specifically citing a lack of sufficient education for Native Americans.

Disclosure: New Mexico Voices for Children/Kids Count contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Early Childhood Education, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
According to the Pew Research Center, adults in all age groups, except those younger than 30, are far more likely to trust information from national and local news outlets than from social media. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …


Social Issues

A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …


According to research from the American Federation of Teachers, there were 55,000 fewer registered nurses employed in the U.S. in 2021 than in 2020. This was the first decrease in five years. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…

Social Issues

In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…

Since the 2020 election, GOP-led states have enacted 102 new election penalties, according to an analysis by States Newsroom and the Voting Rights Lab. (niyazz/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …

Social Issues

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…

Environment

New Mexico residents have two weeks to submit written comments to the Environmental Protection Agency about its proposal to implement stronger standar…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021