During the 2022 legislative session, Think New Mexico successfully championed the enactment of two landmark reforms that:
- Ended predatory lending! House Bill 132 passed the House 51-18 and the Senate 19-8. This bill would reduce the maximum annual interest rate on small loans from 175%, one of the highest rates allowed anywhere in the nation, to 36%, the national average. When the governor signs it, this new law will put an end to four decades of predatory lending and will save hardworking New Mexicans approximately $175 million in interest payments every year. Read more about this reform.
- Repealed the tax on Social Security income for all middle and lower income seniors! The legislature passed House Bill 163, which exempts Social Security from taxation for all middle and lower income seniors – with incomes under $100,000 as individuals or $150,000 as couples. When this reform is signed, it will save middle and low-income seniors $84 million this tax year, rising to $99.5 million by 2025. Approximately 86% of New Mexico seniors will qualify for the exemption, and the average senior will save around $710 a year. Read more about this reform.
In October 2021, the New Mexico Public Education Department released an update to its K-12 Social Studies standards, which detail the concepts that students should learn in classes like history and economics.
Because that initial draft did not add any financial literacy benchmarks, Think New Mexico wrote our own, based on the national best practices and the standards in place in other states like Colorado, and we urged the Public Education Department to include them.
That’s where you came in: New Mexicans like you submitted 263 public comments in support of our recommendation, including powerful personal testimony from students, parents, teachers, and graduates of New Mexico’s public schools. The Department took notice of this strong public response, and your impact is reflected in the revised standards they just released.
With this change, New Mexico will no longer be one of only five states that fails to include financial literacy in its education standards. The new standards will ensure students learn key skills and concepts like how to budget, open a bank account, make smart credit choices, and apply for financial aid to pay for college.
Our deep thanks go out to the eight extremely generous New Mexicans who put together a pool of challenge grants totaling $135,000 and to the 338 New Mexicans who helped us more than match that challenge!
Including both the challenge grants and your matching contributions, during the online fundraising campaign between October 18-29, 2021 you helped us raise $276,530, which is more than 40% of Think New Mexico’s annual budget. We are especially pleased to welcome our 47 new supporters.
Since Think New Mexico was founded in 1999, we have always worked hard to keep our fundraising expenses to an absolute minimum. That’s why we have never employed a professional fundraiser. This strategy has succeeded thanks to all of you who give so generously every year and make it possible for Think New Mexico’s small staff to focus on our policy research and advocacy work.
The New Mexico Public Education Department is updating its K-12 Social Studies standards, which detail the concepts that students will learn in classes like history and economics. This gives us an important opportunity to make sure that every New Mexico student has the opportunity to learn essential personal finance skills before they graduate from high school.
New Mexico is one of only five states that fails to include personal finance in its education standards. Personal finance standards teach students essential life skills like budgeting, checking and savings accounts, credit, interest, investment in stocks and bonds, and the costs of borrowing. The research shows that students who receive this education are more likely to save money, budget their spending, invest, and obtain more financial aid for college.
The department’s draft revision didn’t add any personal finance benchmarks, so Think New Mexico wrote our own based on the national best practices and the standards in place in other states like Colorado. (You can review our proposal here: Think New Mexico’s proposed additions are highlighted throughout the draft rule.)
We hope you’ll join us in urging the Public Education Department to adopt strong personal finance standards for New Mexico’s students! Please note that comments must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on November 12.
Think New Mexico has received a score of 100 out of 100 on Charity Navigator’s new Encompass Rating System for small nonprofits. This score, which is based on Charity Navigator’s Finance and Accountability analysis, provides an assessment of a nonprofit’s financial health (stability, efficiency and sustainability) and its commitment to governance practices and policies. Charity Navigator is the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator. Learn more on Charity Navigator’s website.
We are delighted to announce that we have hired Abenicio Baldonado as Think New Mexico’s first ever Education Reform Director! As this Santa Fe New Mexican column explains, we created this new position because we believe that nothing is more critical to the success of our state than improving the quality of our public schools. Yet because Think New Mexico takes on new issues every year, we have not been able to give education reform the consistent, intense focus that it needs every day of the year. The Education Reform Director position is designed to fix that, and we could not have found a better fit for the position than Abenicio. He is a proud graduate of Robertson High School in Las Vegas, NM, earned his BA and Masters from Highlands University, served as a public school teacher and charter school board member, and spent the last three years as the Legislative Liaison for the Public Education Department. Read Abenicio’s bio on our staff page.
Think New Mexico Executive Director Fred Nathan received a 2021 Humanitarian Award from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque, in recognition of his three decades of public service on behalf of New Mexicans. Read the Albuquerque Journal’s profile of Fred here.
Our most recent annual report includes updates on our work to make the infrastructure funding process transparent, prevent the taxation of delivered groceries, end predatory lending, strengthen financial literacy education, and more! Click here to download the annual report.
We are delighted to be joined this summer by Amelia Bierle, who grew up in Carlsbad and is now earning her Masters in Public Policy from UNM; Sophie Hare, who was raised in Santa Fe and and is now a junior studying Public Policy and Spanish at the University of Chicago; Ciara “Key” Macfarland, who grew up in Albuquerque and is now a senior majoring in political science at Colorado College; and Vedder “Rise” Miller, who grew up in Santa Fe and just graduated from Duke University with a degree in Public Policy Studies and History!
Amelia and Rise are working with us during the first half of the summer, and Key and Sophie will be here during the latter half. Read more about this year’s Leadership Interns.
In a report released October 4, 2020, Think New Mexico recommends that the legislature and governor cut the state’s maximum annual interest rate on small loans from 175% to 36% and make a course in financial literacy or personal finance a high school graduation requirement. Learn more about our recommended reforms and ask your legislators and the governor to support them!