Group backing permanent fund measure raises $400,000

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE — A political committee formed to advocate for approval of a constitutional amendment increasing distributions from New Mexico’s largest permanent fund said it received more than $400,000 in contributions this week, including donations important to several non-profit groups.

The political committee, called Vote Yes for Kids, plans to use the funding to raise awareness of the proposed constitutional amendment, which will be decided by voters across the state in November.

No organized opposition has emerged to the proposed amendment that would increase the annual distribution of the Land Grant Permanent Fund to 6.25% – from 5% – and use the additional funding primarily to expand early childhood programs and for schools. K-12.

As for the group created to advocate for passage of the constitutional amendment, Vote Yes for the Kids plans to launch an awareness campaign in all regions of New Mexico, group spokeswoman Angie said on Tuesday. Poss.

“Running a statewide campaign requires resources in the form of people power and financial support,” Poss told the Journal.

In a report filed this week with the secretary of state’s office, the group said it secured nearly all of its $412,428 in total donations from two different nonprofit groups that lobbied for legislative approval. of the proposal at the State Capitol.

Specifically, the group received $300,000 from CHI St. Joseph’s Children, an Albuquerque-based group that operates the state’s largest home-visiting program for families with young children.

He also secured more than $100,000 from Organizers of the Land of Enchantment, or OLÉ, a nonprofit group that is the sponsoring organization for Vote Yes for Kids, Poss said.

Allen Sánchez, president of CHI St. Joseph’s Children, said federal and state campaign finance laws allow nonprofit groups to be active in proposed ballot measures.

He also said the advocacy work ahead of the November general election was a natural extension of the lobby groups engaged over the past decade at the Roundhouse on the issue of early childhood.

“We have an epidemic of toxic stress affecting our children,” Sánchez told the Journal.

As for CHI St. Joseph’s Children, Sánchez said the organization “didn’t take money from the government” to run its home visitation program, but left open the possibility that it could contract with the state in the future. The organization currently uses part of its own endowment to fund its home visiting services.

With just under six months until the Nov. 8 general election, Sánchez said the global advocacy campaign in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment could expand and eventually become a multimillion-dollar effort.

Meanwhile, the Vote Yes for Kids political committee is not subject to New Mexico’s campaign contribution limits because it operates as an independent spending group, said Alex Curtas of the Secretary of State’s office.

Independent spending groups can spend money on political ads, but must disclose their donors and are prohibited from coordinating with candidates or campaigns.

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