August 28, 2023

Legislative Newsletter: LFC discusses wage gap, more

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Hello political junkies!

This week the interim Legislative Finance Committee met to discuss, among other things, the state budget forecast.

Included in the presentation about the budget forecast were some demographic data such as income levels by gender.

The data came from U.S. Census data and covers 2021. It shows that the only time women make more money than men is when the salary is below $20,000, the wages are about even in the $20,000 to $29,999 range and then the wage gap favoring men grows from there with more men making $30,000 or more than women.

Compared to a decade ago, the gaps are about the same for those earning $50,000 or less per year. However, the number of women making more than $50,000 per year has grown by 5 percent.

State Rep. Pameyla Herndon, a Democrat from Albuquerque, asked the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, which presented the budget information, what was being done about the wage gap.

State Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke responded that it is an issue her department and the CREG were watching.

“We only in the last couple of years started including slides on differences in economic fortune between gender and ethnicity and I think it’s just, it’s not exactly part of the revenue estimate, but we need to keep our eye on it and see how it’s trending and it’s not getting any better,” Schardin Clarke said. “If I had an answer, though, to why and how we fix it, you know, we’re I think we’re doing a lot of good things in our public policy sphere at both the state and the national level to move this needle in the right direction, but it’s very stubborn.”

Schardin Clarke noted that in the post-COVID-19 economy, women’s job losses were starker than those of men. 

“If a woman in a household is paid less than her male partner, of course, she’s going to be the one to stay home if someone has to stay home,” Schardin Clarke said. “We’re at a point to labor market constraints and things like lack of childcare availability, where in some households you have a woman who could go to work full time and spend her whole paycheck, paying someone else to give childcare to her kids. So that is out of sync and it’s a hindrance.”

More on the LFC budget presentation can be found in my story here.

There were also several environmental discussions at the LFC meeting including an update on the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire recovery and how the state conservation fund needs more funding.

My colleague Hannah Grover’s story on Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire recovery can be found here and her story on the state conservation fund can be found here.

Other political news

The U.S. District Court in New Mexico declared some parts of the state Campaign Finance Act as unconstitutional. 

The lawsuit was filed in 2012 and was brought on by the Republican Party of New Mexico, et al. against New Mexico District Attorney Raúl Torres and other officials.

The judge issued the final judgment and injunction on Aug. 17.

More on the case by Colleen Heild of the Albuquerque Journal can be found here.

This week’s Interim Legislative meetings

Economic And Rural Development And Policy Committee will meet Aug. 28-30 in Sunland Park and Las Cruces. The agenda includes separate discussions on economic impacts on ports of entry, short line railroads and nonprofit organizations as well as public banking and growing the state’s film industry.

Legislative Health and Human Services Committee will meet Aug-28-30 at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center Auditorium in Albuquerque. The agenda includes discussions about prenatal and postnatal care, child welfare advocates and lived experiences in the state’s child welfare system.

Mortgage Finance Authority Act Oversight Committee will meet Aug. 30 at the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority Office in Albuquerque. The agenda includes a discussion of affordable housing.

Science, Technology And Telecommunications Committee will meet Aug. 31 in Santa Rosa and Sept. 1 in Corona. The agenda includes discussions about community solar programs, utility-grade storage and grid modernization and regional transit authorities.

Upcoming interim legislative meetings

Other local and county meeting schedules

Upcoming elections

The 2023 local elections are coming up on Nov. 2. Those wishing to run for local office must file their candidacy on Aug. 29 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at their local county clerk’s office.

Now is also a good time to check or update your voter registration which can be done through or by contacting your local county clerk’s office.

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