Summary: HM 22, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, requests the Human Services Dept. and the Workforce Solutions Dept. to convene a task force to study the impact of the implementation of a basic income for low-income New Mexicans and to report its findings to the legislature by Nov. 1, 2022. The task force would consist of representatives of community organizations working on behalf of low-income communities and agencies and organizations working with those communities. A representative from the governor’s office who works on issues affecting low-income New Mexicans would be invited to participate.
What is “Basic Income”?
“Universal basic income” is defined as a government-guaranteed payment that each citizen receives. It is intended to provide money to citizens so that they can pay for necessities, whether or not they are employed. Universal basic income is not intended to replace jobs.
Why Is Basic Income Good for New Mexico?
- According to the U.S. census bureau, as of 2020, New Mexico has the second-highest rate of poverty in the nation, with 18.2% of New Mexicans living below the poverty level.
- New Mexico also has the second-highest rate of childhood poverty in the nation, with 24.7% of New Mexican children living below the poverty level.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of September 2021, New Mexico has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, at 7.2%.
- According to the Workforce Solutions Department, as of June 2021, New Mexico has a low labor force participation rate of 57.2%, and that rate continues to decline.
- As of 2017, 29.9% of jobs in New Mexico have a median annual pay below 100% of the poverty level for a family of four and are considered low-wage jobs.
- As of May 2021, 44% of New Mexico residents were enrolled in Medicaid.
- The National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that universal and basic cash transfers do not significantly decrease aggregate employment.
- Universal basic income had been found to boost recipients’ mental and financial well-being, improve employment rates and enable recipients to find full-time employment and pursue new opportunities.