Las Cruces Mayor and City Council
700 North Main
Las Cruces, NM 88001
Mayor Miyagishima and City Council:
The undersigned nonprofits and organizations, who operate in the City of Las Cruces, are submitting this letter in support of appropriating $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for a Guaranteed Income (GI) demonstration project.
As per ARPA 2021 SEC. 602. C. 1A., a municipality may use funds “to respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households. The Interim Final Rule on Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds issued by the United States Treasury provides even further guidance, “Assistance to households or populations facing negative economic impacts due to COVID-19. This includes: [..] cash assistance […]. A cash transfer program may focus on […] low- and moderate-income families, which have faced disproportionate economic harms due to the pandemic” 
A City of Las Cruces GI project would not only follow the Congressional intent of ARPA funding, but also address economic harms to families who were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. COVID-19 has intensified the economic insecurity of low-income people in a variety of different ways, from job loss, to educational adjustments, to unanticipated costs, to struggles to meet basic needs, and unforeseen medical expenses. Instead of targeting just one of those problems, GI seeks to address them all by awarding the funds directly to families.
The need for an anti-poverty program in the region is well known. New Mexico has the second highest poverty rate in the country, after only Mississippi. One out of every four children live in poverty in the State. In Las Cruces, the poverty rate is over 26.4%. More alarming is that 38.30% of children under 18 live in poverty and for those under 5, it is as high as 39.8%.
GI has been widely studied in the U.S. and world-wide as an innovative way to curb or eliminate poverty. Unrestricted cash payments are given monthly to participants. Families determine how to spend the money, but research has shown participants tend to pay for such basic needs as food, shelter, healthcare and transportation. The payments help them plan for the future, including attaining better employment and education and creating stability for themselves and their families. They address the core causes of poverty, which is a lack of income, as opposed to its symptoms, which range from hunger to poor health. For the community, a reduction in poverty rates can mean higher grades and graduation rates, increased employment prospects, and a reduction in crime, homelessness, and other societal and economic impacts.
Recently, a foundation awarded a group of local nonprofits a $200,000 research, program design, and evaluation grant to study the impacts of a GI project. We respectfully request that if appropriations are made for a GI project that the administrator(s) of the funds work with the nonprofit partners and the NMSU Crimson Research group to assist with the evaluation and design of the demonstration project in order to leverage this important resource.
We firmly believe that this project has the potential to materially benefit our citizens and local economy. We appreciate your consideration.
 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. https://bit.ly/2Vj7Xa1
 Department Of The Treasury 31 CFR Part 35 RIN 1505-AC77 https://bit.ly/3i8RjTm
 U.S. Census. Las Cruces, NM Metro Area https://bit.ly/3lbXKqR