SANTA FE – House Bill 83, creating the Early Childhood Trust Fund, providing for a long-term investment strategy in the health, education and well-being of New Mexico’s youngest children, passed the Senate floor Friday on a sweeping bipartisan vote of 37-1. It now goes to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk. The governor, who established the trust fund as a top priority of 2020, issued the following statement:
“I am immensely grateful to the Legislature for their commitment to and support for the children of New Mexico. The trust fund is not the final step but it is a monumental step forward in our effort to permanently transform educational and economic outcomes for kids and families all across New Mexico.
“Our approach is simple: We are going to develop the whole child, we are going to help kids build social and emotional skills, we are going to set New Mexico kids – and by extension our entire state – on the path to success, now and into the distant future.
“I am grateful there has been broad consensus on the need for a robust initial funding amount in both chambers. I am confident we will ultimately reach the $320 million number in the final accounting. And I am likewise confident we will, as a state, step up and deliver for New Mexico’s children.
“I want to thank Rep. Doreen Gallegos and Sen. John Arthur Smith for their leadership on this issue. I also want to thank other leaders in the Legislature – particularly Rep. Moe Maestas and Rep. Javier Martinez and so many tireless advocates – for their continued commitment, this year and in years past, to improving early childhood outcomes in our state. We will all keep pushing and building and investing however we can to better serve children and families all across New Mexico.”
The trust fund has been endorsed by numerous organizations and entities all across New Mexico, among them the Navajo Nation; the pueblo of Isleta; the pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh; the pueblo of Santa Clara; the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce; the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce; the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry; Save the Children Action Network; CHI St. Joseph’s Children; United Way of Santa Fe County; New Mexico Voices for Children; the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children; the New Mexico Pediatric Society; the New Mexico Child Care Association; and AFT New Mexico.
“The governor and the Legislature have shown extraordinary leadership and foresight,” said Early Childhood Education and Care Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “By creating an endowment to help fund high-quality early childhood programs in perpetuity, they have recognized a deep truth: the health and wellbeing of our children determines the health and wellbeing of our society as a whole.”