KOB.com Web Staff
November 11, 2016 10:42 PM
The KOB 4 news team has been poring over the details of President-elect Donald Trump’s plan for his first 100 days in office to see how these major policy shifts affect New Mexico.
One of the cornerstones of Trump’s legislative agenda is the School Choice and Education Opportunity act. It would allow families to redirect educational spending to private schools, religious schools, or even home schooling.
Many states already have a limited voucher system for using tax money on private schools, but nothing like that currently exists in New Mexico. The state has 170 private schools.
Currently, 21,750 students are enrolled in those private K-12 schools, almost 5.98 percent of all students.
The state paid $9,734 dollars per student for public K-12 education last year. If parents were allowed to move that money, it would immediately siphon $211 million out of New Mexico public schools. That number would grow if more families took advantage of the private school option.
Reading Trump’s plan, it seems likely one of his first actions in January will be to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, President Barack Obama’s executive action to allow children of illegal immigrants to pursue schooling or work permits.
The Brookings Institute says nearly 3,000 young people have applied for DACA in New Mexico. The vast majority of them, 75 percent, are from Mexico.
The Trump plan also calls for deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals, including drunken drivers. We don't have the data to know how many of the roughly 70,000 undocumented immigrants in New Mexico could be targeted.
The plan also asks Congress to approve construction of a wall on the Mexican border. New Mexico owns a 180-mile stretch of that border.
The Trump plan says Mexico will pay for the wall. If not, Trump suggests the wall could be financed by taxing money that Mexican citizens working in the United States send home. Using numbers from the World Bank, it's estimated that more than $400 million was sent from New Mexico to families in Mexico in 2014.
Trump says one of his first actions in 2017 will be to ask Congress to pass the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act. The plan simplifies income taxes from seven brackets to three.
Trump claims it could grow our economy by 4 percent.
Nick Loftis, a local CPA, crunched the number for the average New Mexican.
According to U.S. Census reports, the median family income in New Mexico last year was just less than $42,000. Under the current system, that family would be taxed at 11 percent. Under Trump’s plan, the lowest bracket is 12-percent.
The Trump standard deduction for a couple filing jointly would more than double. So even though all the line-item exemptions go away, the couple in this example would save money. Loftis said it would be almost $850 under the Trump plan.
Families with children may also qualify for childcare credits proposed by Trump.
Another plank in the Trump plan isn't going over so well with some members of Congress. He thinks the best way to attack corruption is with term limits.
The proposal isn't specific about what the limit should be, but New Mexico’s two senators probably are not in any danger. Tom Udall is serving only his second term in the Senate and Martin Heinrich is still on his first term.
In the House, Michelle Lujan Grisham was just re-elected to her third term. Steve Pearce in District Two was re-elected to his fourth term, but he served four terms before leaving office to run for Senate. Ben Ray Lujan may have the most to worry about as he was just re-elected to his fifth term in Congress.
Change can be hard. New Mexico leaders have talked for decades about the danger of being so dependent on federal dollars. With a new president vowing to rein in the spending, New Mexico may be forced to change.
Trump says he will place an immediate hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the workforce. That means not replacing people who retire or quit.
It would hit the state hard. New Mexico has more than 30,000 people getting their paychecks from Uncle Sam ranging from national laboratories to the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Air Marshal Training Program and others.
Altogether, it's nearly 4 percent of the state’s workforce population. In the lower 48, New Mexico is behind only the beltway states of Maryland and Virginia when it comes to federal workers. The Department of the Interior is the top federal employer, but Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs also employ thousands.
The Trump plan says jobs related to the military and public safety will be exempted, but the impact isn't limited to the families who get a federal paycheck. New Mexico's Legislative Finance Committee estimates as those dollars are spent in our communities, the ripple effect adds up to 12.8 percent of the state's economy.
KOB.com Web Staff
Updated: November 11, 2016 10:42 PM
Created: November 11, 2016 03:28 PM
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