What Is the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities?
About the Center -- The Center conducts research and analysis to help shape public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that policymakers consider the needs of low-income families and individuals in these debates. We also develop policy options to alleviate poverty. In addition, the Center examines the short- and long-term impacts of proposed policies on the health of the economy and the soundness of federal and state budgets. Among the issues we explore are whether federal and state governments are fiscally sound and have sufficient revenue to address critical priorities, both for low-income populations and for the nation as a whole. Over the past 30 years, the Center has gained a reputation for producing materials that are balanced, authoritative, accessible to non-specialists, and responsive to issues facing the country. Our materials are used by policymakers and non-profit organizations across the political spectrum, and by journalists from a wide variety of TV, radio, print, and online outlets.
The Evolution of the Center -- The Center was founded in 1981 to analyze federal budget priorities, with particular emphasis on the impact of various budget choices on low-income Americans. Our work has broadened considerably over the years as we have responded to new developments and entered new areas of research. Most notably, the Center initiated extensive work on budget priorities and low-income programs at the state level during the 1990s in response to the devolution of responsibility over many areas of low-income policy from Washington to the states. State work, which we conduct in part through the Center’s State Fiscal Project, now comprises about half of the Center’s activities. We provide information and technical assistance to state non-profit organizations and government officials on issues ranging from state budget priorities and revenue structures to the design and implementation of low-income programs. At the state level, we also collaborate with non-profits — including members of the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative — to build their capacity to conduct sound budget and policy analysis and participate effectively in policy debates. With our assistance, a rising number of these groups are working on fiscal priorities and new directions in alleviating poverty. At the international level, the Center established the International Budget Partnership in 1997 to help civil society organizations in new democracies (such as former Soviet republics) and developing countries conduct budget analysis designed to make these countries’ budget systems more open and more responsive to the needs of society.
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