Carmella Salinas, center, in January, sits with Kenzie Garcia (left) and Ayana Madueno, 4, in her pre-kindergarten class at the Acalde Elementary School north of Española. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – For years, this was one of the most hotly debated measures at the Roundhouse.

But ahead of the Nov. 8 election, constitutional amendments to make better use of New Mexico’s permanent school fund are gaining broad voter support.

The poll question was supported by 69% of voters in the latest journal survey. This is support across state partisanship, age and region.

Only 15% of voters voiced their opposition. According to a scientific study by Research & Polling Inc., the rest are undecided, say no, or say it depends.

This support will support annual distributions from the Permanent Fund (a type of endowment) at the State Capitol over 10 years to fund early childhood education, including preschool and home visit programs to support new parents. done after the action.

Additional funding will also be available for K-12 education.

Research & Polling president Brian Sanderoff says results show bipartisan support for ballot measures unlikely to dwindle unless well-funded opposition emerges before Election Day said.

“People in New Mexico recognize that early childhood education is important in a state like New Mexico, where there is a generational challenge to get New Mexico kids up to speed. said Sanderoff.

Democratic voters who supported the bill outnumbered opponents by 11 to 1, while Republicans outscored opponents by 2 to 1, he said. Opinion polls showed him a five-to-one ratio of independent to minority voters.

State economists say the proposed amendments could generate about $230 million in new revenue annually. 60% of the funds will be for early childhood education and 40% for her K-12 education.

K-12 funds can be used to enhance instruction for students at risk of failure, extending grades and teacher salaries.

bigger discussion

At the Roundhouse, Republicans and Democrats alike embrace early childhood education as an effective strategy for improving academic performance.

According to the Legislative and Finance Committee, even without a constitutional amendment, annual funding for early childhood programs jumped from $179 million to $579 million in 10 years.

However, there has been heated debate, largely in line with party policy, over whether to place more emphasis on the Permanent Fund of New Mexico Land Grants to further expand early childhood funding.

The state currently withdraws 5% each year (a moving average based on the value of the fund over a five-year period) from the fund to spend on public schools and other beneficiaries. This year she plans to contribute $1.3 billion.

The fund will grow through investment income and royalty income from oil and gas production on state-owned land. This is his one of the three or four largest sovereign wealth funds in the US.

The proposed amendment would boost the permanent school fund annual distribution to 6.25%. This is the largest component of the Land Grant Permanent Fund.

Opponents of increased withdrawals say that increasing withdrawals from the fund slows its growth, so they will eventually leave the state with a smaller annual distribution.

Legislative analysts projected last year that in about 20 years, for example, the fund would contribute less revenue to annual state spending at a level of 6.25% than if left at 5%.

The 2021 lawmakers approved this question for a vote.

Proponents say the investment will be well worth it, breaking the cycle of poverty and providing more funding for programs that improve the education and well-being of children in New Mexico.

broad support

A poll in the Journal found that the proposed amendment would hit voters in every region of the state, including the Albuquerque metropolitan area, northwestern and northcentral New Mexico, Las Cruces and southwestern New Mexico, and the eastern part of the state. It received support from at least 64%. side.

He also had a healthy following among voters regardless of which candidate they supported.

A poll found that 81% of voters who support Democratic incumbent Michel Lejean Grisham, 55% of those who support Republican Mark Ronchetti, and 73% of those who support libertarian Karen Bedney supported the amendment.

Strong support was also shown regardless of age, ethnicity, education level, political affiliation or political ideology.

“Democrats tend to be more supportive of additional government funding directed toward social programs than Republicans,” Sundaroff said.A majority of Republicans support the amendment. “

very thin vote

A similar proposal barely passed 19 years ago.

A 2003 bill was approved in a special election to temporarily increase the Permanent Fund’s share of land grants.

The income helped the state establish a three-tier minimum wage scale for teachers.

It also increased the annual share from 4.7% to 5.8%, but under the terms of the approved proposal, the share was gradually reduced to the current 5% by 2017.

methodology

The Journal Poll is based on a scientific statewide sample of 518 voters who voted in the 2018 and/or 2020 general elections and said they were likely to vote in the next election.

The poll was conducted from August 19th to August 25th. The margin of error for the voter sample is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. The error bars for subsampling are larger.

In the poll, respondents were asked: “Do you support or oppose constitutional amendments that would use more funds from the New Mexico Land Grant Permanent School Fund for Early Childhood Education, Teacher Compensation, and K-12 Education Programs?”

The poll questions are modeled after the language displayed on the ballot.

All interviews were conducted by live professional interviewers using multiple callbacks to households who did not initially answer their calls.

Both mobile numbers (79%) and landlines (21%) of proven general election voters were used.



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