New Mexico’s anti-poverty programs ineffective despite spending more than $10 billion

The Legislative Finance Committee (the Legislature’s own internal “think tank”) has been saying a lot of things that we at the Rio Grande Foundation have been saying for years, but the latest report is especially noteworthy.

The gist of the findings as outlined by KRQE Channel 13 here are that “Large investments in income support, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aren’t decreasing poverty in New Mexico.” Furthermore, “LFC says the current structure of the state’s benefits could be disincentivizing some from working full time or from trying to get higher paying jobs.”

Here are just a few of the many fantastic charts in the LFC paper:

  1. Labor participation rates correlate with poverty rates. If New Mexico (as we and the LFC have both argued) want to reduce poverty, it has to be through work, not welfare programs.

2) New Mexico’s welfare programs are extremely generous (2nd most in the nation). It won’t be easy politically and certainly not with New Mexico’s current political makeup, but it is high time to reduce the generosity of our State’s welfare programs AND use them to encourage work.