Michael Barrio, Director of Advocacy
Prosperity Works begins our campaign for change at the New Mexico State Capitol with the opening of legislative session on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. The 2019 session is looking to be fast-paced and intense, with a flurry of proposed legislation expected to hit the Roundhouse. With a new Democratic Governor, a host of eager newly-seated legislators and a revenue surplus we anticipate significant movement on education, healthcare and public safety-focused legislation. We’re looking forward to working with our new Governor and her administration to address the systemic issues that continue to undermine our progress as a state.
Prosperity Works' mission is to remove barriers and increase opportunity for all New Mexicans to build assets and financial stability for their families. These opportunities and barriers are often systemic - the result of policy decisions at the local, state and federal level. As such, legislative advocacy is the key to realizing financial equity and inclusion for every New Mexican.
If you would like to receive all of the latest news and calls to action from the Prosperity Works team during legislative session, please sign up for our advocacy newsletter here. Please note: if you are signed up to receive the PW Quarterly Newsletter, we also ask that you use the link above to subscribe to our advocacy list.
For your consideration and support, our legislative agenda for the 2019 Legislative Session follows:
HB 150 INSTALLMENT & SMALL LOAN CHANGES – Sponsors: Rep. Georgene Louis, Sen. Sander Rue, & Sen. Benny Shendo
Every New Mexican deserves access to fair loans at reasonable rates. In order to help hardworking New Mexicans make smart financial decisions, the public and our legislature need to know how the small lending industry operates in our state. Although New Mexico's first across-the-board interest rate cap has gone into effect, there are gaps in enforcement and loopholes that prevent New Mexican families from receiving the benefit of the law's protections. With a lower interest rate to contend with, lenders are using high fees and rollovers as profit generators that simply drain income from New Mexico consumers. HB 150 provides commonsense updates to address inconsistencies in NM small loan laws and introduces transparent data sharing practices that would eliminate loopholes, gaps, and confusion that circumvent the intended consumer protections.
SB 95 INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT ACT CHANGES & SB 86 INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACT APPROPRIATION – Sponsors: Sen. Bill Tallman & Rep. Rebecca Dow
In counties across the state, Prosperity Works and our partners have implemented Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to help build strong communities and local economies. Among the program’s many successes in New Mexico, the IDA product has been able to help families purchase a first home, start a small business or cover costs associated with post-secondary education. Current IDA legislation ties disbursement of state-supported IDA funds to those nonprofit organizations currently receiving funds through the Federal Assets for Independence Initiative (FAII), the federally-funded IDA program. Because this program is no longer funded in the Federal budget, New Mexico would not be able to disburse funds in support of IDA match dollars or programming beyond 2019. Senate Bills 95 & 86 would create a state-funded IDA program to continue to help New Mexicans' build credit, build assets, and achieve financial security. Without the passage of this legislation, it is doubtful that our nationally recognized IDA program will be able to continue in New Mexico in any meaningful way.
CSA (Bill number coming soon) – Sponsor: Rep. Andres Romero
Every child in New Mexico deserves the opportunity to begin building a stable financial future. This is particularly important in our state, which continues to sit at the bottom of national rankings for child poverty. We need innovative and proven solutions to help break the inter-generational cycle of poverty. Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) are long-term savings accounts which, under this proposed bill, would be opened for all eligible New Mexico children at birth and seeded with $500. These accounts encourage parents to begin saving early for education costs by offering incentives for deposits and tax exemptions. Saving even $500 in a CSA helps to establish a college-bound future orientation and can improve performance in school. CSAs are proven tools for combating poverty with bipartisan appeal and a wide range of benefits including building financial literacy and establishing bank accounts that help the entire family avoid predatory lending. This bill will help to cultivate an incentivized and better prepared generation of children with a high-return, relatively low-cost investment.