Might New Mexico Think about A Assured Revenue Program?
Talks are still in the early stages, but some state lawmakers believe there could be a proposal during the next legislature, slated for January.
Legislators are examining part of a pilot program that is currently being introduced in Santa Fe.
It is funded by a national advocacy group and will provide $ 400 monthly payments for one year to 100 people under the age of 30 who have children attending Santa Fe Community College.
Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber is a strong supporter of this initiative to help people.
“It will make your life smoother and less stressful. Your family life will get better. Your mental health will be better and ultimately your economic future will be better, “said Webber.
Studies show that opinions about guaranteed income are divided across the country.
“Personally, I’m not a huge fan of it,” said Socorro’s Johnny Claymore. “Investing a lot of taxpayers’ money to help people who might be lazy.”
“I think our state has suffered for a long time because it falls short on many programs that would benefit everyone. I think in general I would be for it, ”said Mary Altenberg from Albuquerque, adding that she would like to know more details.
Two state legislators, who heard the lecture on the subject this week, gave insight into the possible upcoming debate.
Rep. Moe Maestas, (D), Bernalillo County, supports the idea.
“It sent shock waves through the legislature,” said Maestas. “I think we should go ahead and think about doing it.”
Ideally, the state would pay $ 2-3 million for a pilot program over the next year and then expand it to 2-3 years if all goes well.
Maestas supports that recipients must work or go to school and a maximum income is set in order to qualify. He says our state could eventually send monthly checks to 50,000 to 100,000 residents in New Mexico.
“It would go to people who need it. The incentives would – they would not deter hard work. It wouldn’t interfere with moving forward, ”he said.
The final point – keeping the staff working – is why proponents say all lawmakers should be on board, but Rep. Larry Scott (R), Lea County, is not being sold.
“I have several reservations,” he said.
Even when it comes to financing, especially if the state wants a large-scale program.
“Right now the state has a lot of needs and I don’t know where that extra funding would come from,” said Scott.
He believes that people who have the freedom to spend the money however they want could be attractive, but “Based on what I heard this week, I wouldn’t be supportive,” Scott said. “I think the amount we could spend on social benefits would be more than we can afford.”
However, he added that he would never say “never” and using a program like Guaranteed Income to replace other existing welfare programs could lead to his support.
There is some research on places that already have programs like this one.
UNM finance professor Reilly White, who studies such trends, described what studies have examined.
“Does it make sense to give people money? And what it does on issues related to the labor market, health issues, and especially issues related to poverty, ”said White.
He says there are some conclusions.
“It helps reduce poverty, especially among children,” he said.
But he says research is limited when these programs are introduced on a smaller community level, including their effectiveness.
“There is a spectrum. It is a heated debate and there are no clear answers that are universally accepted, ”said White.
More and more places in the US are starting some kind of guaranteed income program. Officials in Stockton, California and Hawaii say their versions have succeeded.