Think New Mexico’s bipartisan legislation to increase the accountability of the state lottery and send more lottery dollars to scholarships was introduced during the 2017 legislative session by Representative Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) and Representative Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque). House Bill 250 passed two House committees unanimously, passed the House with only a single dissenting vote, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. Unfortunately, it was never brought up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, another bill was pushed by the multinational gaming corporations that contract with the lottery to remove the lottery’s accountability to students and reduce the dollars going to scholarships. Senate Bill 192 would have repealed Think New Mexico’s 2007 reform law requiring the lottery to deliver at least 30% of revenues to the scholarship fund.
Think New Mexico fought Senate Bill 192 at every step of its journey through the legislative process, and the final showdown came late on the final night of the session when the bill was brought up for a vote of the full House. Legislators from both parties spoke out against jeopardizing the lottery scholarship fund, and Representative Harper successfully amended all the provisions of House Bill 250 into Senate Bill 192, which meant that the bill had to go back to the Senate for senators to approve those amendments. The Senate did not bring the bill up for consideration before the session concluded, so the bill was defeated and the scholarship fund will continue to receive the full 30% of lottery revenues going forward.
Learn more about this issue and how you can get involved.
On December 15, 2016, the New Mexico Revenue Stabilization and Tax Committee considered legislation to reimpose the regressive food tax on New Mexico families (see coverage from KRQE News 13 and KOAT News 7). The food tax was presented as one piece of a much larger “tax reform” package aimed at raising revenue for the state. Yet the legislators pushing the food tax never answered one important question: how is it that 34 other states are able to balance their budgets without taxing food?
The tax package including the food tax was introduced as House Bill 412 during the 2017 session, along with several other bills that also proposed taxing food. We worked closely with a diverse coalition of other organizations and succeeded in keeping groceries tax-free for New Mexico families. Learn more about the fight against the food tax and sign up to receive email alerts about it.
Thanks to everyone who wrote a review of Think New Mexico this year on GreatNonprofits.org! We are delighted to be one of 10 New Mexico organizations recognized as a top-rated nonprofit in 2016.
Read all about our latest progress on our efforts to reform how the state funds essential public infrastructure, make health care prices transparent, maximize the amount of lottery revenues going to scholarships and prevent the reimposition of the food tax. Click here to download the annual report.
Think New Mexico recently launched a new initiative to fix the state’s hyper-political process for funding essential infrastructure like roads, bridges, and water systems. Learn more about this issue and how to take action on it!
Once again, in 2015 and 2016 legislation was introduced to reimpose New Mexico’s regressive food tax, which Think New Mexico led the fight to repeal in 2004. Fortunately our efforts to oppose the food tax were successful and it did not pass either chamber of the legislature in 2015 or 2016. However, we expect the bill to be reintroduced in 2017. Learn more about this issue and how you can get involved!
In both 2015 and 2016, Think New Mexico successfully defeated legislation that would have repealed the requirement that a minimum of 30% of state lottery revenues be dedicated to student scholarships. The 30% requirement has resulted in an additional $9 million going to scholarships every year since 2008. Learn more about this issue and how to get involved!
For the fourth year in a row, the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s International Relations Program has recognized Think New Mexico as one of the most effective think tanks in the world in the category of “Best Advocacy Campaign.” The 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, released on January 29, 2016, ranks Think New Mexico 58th in this category. We were ranked 56th in 2014, 57th in 2013 and 70th in 2012. Think New Mexico remains the only state-level think tank to make the ranking, among a distinguished list including Amnesty International, the Pew Research Center, and the Brookings Institution.
Thanks to our friends and supporters who made us one of only ten nonprofits in New Mexico to receive a 2015 top-rated recognition from Great Nonprofits!
The bill, Senate Judiciary Substitute for Senate Bills 323 & 474, was sponsored by Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Sander Rue & Mark Moores. It passed the Senate 26-0 and the House 52-0 and was signed into law by Governor Martinez on April 9, 2015. When fully implemented, it will create a website where New Mexicans can easily find information on hospital prices and quality.
Read more about this reform and watch Larry Barker investigate the need for health care transparency on on KRQE News 13: