Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
An opportunity for New Mexicans with disabilities to save money, is coming on January the 18th. “ABLE New Mexico” will allow people with disabilities to contribute to an investment account without jeopardizing other benefits such as Social Security or Medicare. The program that is administered by the State Treasurer’s Office, gives people with disabilities a path to financial independence by increasing their ability to save. All the earnings through the program are tax free. Participants will be able to contribute up to $15,000 per year into their account. Prior to passage of the “Achieving a Better Life Experience” Act by the U.S. Congress in 2014, people receiving healthcare and other benefits were allowed to only save about $2,000 of their own money without jeopardizing their benefits. The New Mexico Legislature passed its own version of the ABLE Act in 2016. The State Treasurer’s Office is working in partnership with the Ohio STABLE Account Program to administer the New Mexico program.
Western New Mexico University’s School of Education recently earned the top slot in a ranking of Best Online Master’s Degrees in Teaching developed by “Early-Childhood-Education-Degrees.com.” The site rated master’s in teaching programs according to affordability, flexibility and academic prestige and found that WNMU offers a fully online, field-based program for the lowest cost. Programs highest on the list have the most flexibility-granting components, as “Early-Childhood-Education-Degrees.com” included institutions that allow for a variety of specializations, give credit to students with prior experience, offer accelerated courses, and permit students to take synchronous or asynchronous coursework. Early-Childhood-Education-Degrees.com also took into account any accolades from other prominent rating associations and educational organizations. More than 50 percent of the WNMU students in teacher education are enrolled in the now top-ranking program.
New Mexico State Representatives, Carl Trujillo and Debbie Rodella, are proposing a special tax on pet food that would raise revenue to help impoverished citizens pay to have their pets spayed and neutered. The bill, if passed would raise commercial pet food registration fees from $2.00 to $100.00 per label of food each year. It is estimated the tax would fund services for 8,000 to 10,000 pets each year. There are concerns that the special tax will be passed on to customers and lead to pet food companies to cease doing business with the state. Other states including Maine and Maryland have passed similar legislation.
Happy 106th Birthday, New Mexico! On Jan. 6th, 1912, President William Howard Taft signed legislation admitting New Mexico to the union as the 47th state. The same legislation admitted Arizona as the 48th state a little more than a month later on February 14th. The state of New Mexico encompasses 121,593 square miles and is nicknamed “The Land of Enchantment.” The state bird is the Roadrunner with the state flower being the Yucca. New Mexico’s flag has a yellow field with red sun with rays stretching out from it. There are four groups of rays with four rays in each group that is an ancient sun symbol of a Native American people called the Zia. The Zia believed that the giver of all good gave them gifts in groups of four. These gifts are: The four directions – north, east, south and west; The four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter; The day – sunrise, noon, evening and night; Life itself – childhood, youth, middle years and old age. All of the rays are bound by a circle of life and love, without a beginning or end.