Lujan Grisham Releases 7-Point Plan To Fight Poverty

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham
ALBUQUERQUE ― Today, gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham released her plan to lift New Mexico families out of poverty and help them reach their long-term financial goals.
“Nearly one out of every five New Mexicans lives in poverty and that’s absolutely unacceptable. To build a strong economy in New Mexico, it’s crucial that we spur real job creation and economic development and invest in a new direction for public education so no families are left behind,” Lujan Grisham said. “My plan will raise the minimum wage, protect families from predatory lenders, and renew the fight against hunger because our state is only strong if our families are succeeding instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck.”
I’ve spent my career working to help New Mexico children reach their full potential because I’ve seen firsthand how intergenerational poverty in my district, southern New Mexico, and across the entire state limits families’ ability to succeed, Howie Morales said. Our plan will help give New Mexicans the tools they need to ensure economic security for themselves and their loved ones, helping them to build a stronger New Mexico for generations to come.
The main points of the Michelle and Howie’s plan include:
  1. Immediately raising the minimum wage from $7.50 to $10 per hour statewide, increasing it to $12 within four years, and then indexing it to inflation. The state’s current minimum wage – $7.50 per hour – has not been raised since 2009 and one out of every ten children in New Mexico lives in a minimum wage household.  
  2. Increasing the New Mexico Working Families Tax Credit. Michelle will expand the WFTC and help lift even more New Mexican families out of poverty by putting more money in working families’ pockets.
  3. Enabling families to build wealth. By expanding Child Savings Accounts and Individual Development Accounts, innovative programs that utilize networks of families and friends who work together to improve their finances, housing, careers, and education, Michelle will help families achieve their long-term financial goals.
  4. Protecting vulnerable families from predatory lenders. Predatory lending keeps New Mexico’s needy families locked in a downward spiral of debt. Michelle will further strengthen consumer protections, prohibit unconscionable interest rates, and crack down on the predatory behavior of certain lenders.
  5. Creating a clear ladder out of poverty. Low-income working families are often disincentivized to take promotions and increased pay at work because as they earn more, they lose benefits immediately. This is known as the “cliff effect.”  This drop means that families may no longer qualify for any Child Care Assistance or other benefits but still do not earn enough to pay for child care. In fact, a $200 annual increase in pay could cost a family an additional $600 in child care costs per month. Michelle will end this “cliff effect” so that child care and other assistance payments are gradually reduced as the recipients’ income grows over time.
  6. Renewing the fight against hunger. Every $5 in new SNAP benefits-better known as food stamps- generates up to $9 in economic activity. 58% of people who use SNAP are working and rely on these benefits for their families’ economic security.
  7. Increase access to Affordable Family Planning Services. Of all the barriers to access to affordable healthcare, family planning services play a disproportionate role in women’s educational and economic opportunities. Michelle will fight all restrictions the Trump Administration is seeking to impose on family planning services and providers, and she will increase access to the family planning and other basic health services these providers offer to low-income men and women.
This plan is just one part of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s comprehensive approach to building a strong economy in New Mexico. Her plan for grades Pre-K through 12 will make sure that all New Mexicans have the foundation they need to join a skilled workforce prepared for the jobs of the future. She has also laid out her strategies for immediate job creation and economic growth in Jumpstart New Mexico and Build New Mexico.
The following community leaders from across New Mexico have given statements in support of the plan:
“Michelle’s plan to address economic inequality is a game changer. By helping families to not only escape poverty – but also build wealth – she will bring our economy into the 21st century. I stand ready to help Michelle bring much needed relief to New Mexico’s working families.” -Representative Javier Martinez, House District 11
“Michelle Lujan Grisham’s comprehensive, evidence-based plan is the first that gives me hope that we can actually move the needle in addressing poverty in this state. Local government leaders recognize that poverty is the foundation of so many of the challenges Bernalillo County and New Mexico families are facing. Just last week, the Legislative Finance Committee released a report that showed the spike in crime here is closely tied to the increase in poverty over the last eight years. And we know that poverty is the root of the Adverse Childhood Experiences that increase the risk of mental illness and substance abuse disorders for many of New Mexico’s children.” -Maggie Hart Stebbins, Bernalillo County Commissioner, District 3
“Too many families across Indian Country are put in impossible situations by predatory lenders and find themselves unable to escape a vicious cycle of economic instability they are placed in. Michelle shows leadership in her plan by recognizing the need for stronger consumer protections and to crack down on rates that no working family could be reasonably expected to pay.”  -Rita Capitan, Crown Point Chapter President
“Michelle’s plan embraces the reality that thousands of hard-working New Mexicans need an immediate boost in the minimum wage so that they can do right by their families and those who depend on them. As a business owner, I applaud her commitment to raising the minimum wage and helping place economic opportunities in reach of every New Mexican.” -Kristina Leader, Owner of Conchitas Cafe
“The economic crisis which continues to plague working New Mexicans demands innovative solutions and the engagement of all of our people in the process. Programs which promote and build on the development of financial literacy as part of our educational system will help build a prepared workforce and encourage our children to keep New Mexico as their permanent home.  Michelle’s commitment to proposals such as the implementation and support of child savings accounts and individual development accounts evidence her commitment to these issues and define her aspirations to move New Mexico forward.” -David Buchholtz, Former Chair of New Mexico Association of Commerce & Industry
“As a practicing nurse for over 50 years who served as a school RN and School Based Health Center Coordinator in rural New Mexico, I’ve seen the impact talking to students about access to contraception, actual education about sexually transmitted diseases, and other prevention services can have on their lives. Michelle’s plan recognizes the importance of family planning as part of this model of integrated care and will help ensure that these critical services are available for families in every corner of the state.” -Nancy Passikoff, Registered Nurse & former School Based Health Center Coordinator, Raton
“Removing food from New Mexico’s tables doesn’t help workers find a job, or a better paying job, any faster, and in fact can make it more difficult to find work. Restricting food access for New Mexicans also reduces the ability to consume a culturally appropriate diet that so deeply reflects New Mexico’s diversity, heritage, and values. Moving healthy foods further out of the reach of New Mexicans contradicts everything we know about health promotion and chronic disease prevention. On the flip side, keeping healthy foods within reach of New Mexicans supports strong families, promotes health, and can help prevent nutrition-related chronic disease. That’s why I strongly support Michelle’s proposal to ensure New Mexicans have consistent access to healthy foods through SNAP participation.” -Patty Keane, MS, RD, Past President of NM Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
“Michelle has dedicated her life to giving children and families the support they need to achieve every opportunity. She continues that relentless effort through her plan to tackle economic inequality by helping put family planning services within reach for every New Mexican.” -Dorothy “Dottie” Montoya, Nurse Practitioner & Leader of NM’s first School Based Health Center at Espanola Valley High School
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