Fred, Kristina, Othiamba and Susan
THINK NEW MEXICO
As you may have seen in the news (read the coverage in the Santa Fe New Mexican), Senator Cliff Pirtle has introduced Senate Bill 129, which would reimpose the food tax on all groceries other than meat, flour tortillas, and items eligible for WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children supplemental nutrition program.
We sent Senator Pirtle a letter (read it here) explaining how unworkable this would be. Because WIC is designed for the very specific purpose of addressing malnutrition in pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, and children under the age of five, it excludes many healthy foods. Nuts, for example, are highly nutritious but are excluded because infants are likely to choke on nuts
Please email your legislators and the governor and urge them to take the food tax off the table and reject Senate Bill 129!
WIC excludes many locally produced foods, like goat cheese, chile powder, and all nuts, including New Mexico pecans and pistachios. Moreover, even for items that are potentially WIC-eligible, only specific brands and specific sizes of foods are included in the program.
WIC recipients have to bring a 17-page booklet to the grocery store with them to keep track of which foods are covered by the program – imagine every New Mexico family having to do the same to find out which foods are taxed!
Those of you who have been part of the Think New Mexico community for several years may recall that this is only the latest in a series of attempts to reimpose the food tax. In the past, the food tax has generally been proposed to help cover a temporary budget shortfall. This year, the state is projected to have a $300 million surplus, which makes this proposal to bring back the food tax even more baffling.