Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

We are a nonpartisan research and policy institute. We pursue federal and state policies designed both to reduce poverty and inequality and to restore fiscal responsibility in equitable and effective ways. We apply our deep expertise in budget and tax issues and in programs and policies that help low-income people, in order to help inform debates and achieve better policy outcomes.

Our State Policy Work

The State Fiscal Project

In state capitals across America, policymakers make decisions every day that shape the lives and futures of working families, people who struggle to get by, and vulnerable children. How state governments invest their resources in schools, health care, child care, and other services can either create opportunity and prosperity for families, individuals, and communities, or hold them back.

Recognizing the importance of state policy, we started extensive work on state budget priorities and low-income programs in the 1990s, as Washington was shifting responsibility for many areas of low-income policy to the states.  Since then, we have conducted pioneering work in the states to create Earned Income Tax Credits, avert devastating spending cuts during the Great Recession, defeat extreme measures to set tight limits on state spending and taxes, analyze the impact of state taxes on economic development, and a host of other issues

State work now comprises about half of our activities and is conducted by our State Fiscal Project staff.  Our SFP experts provide policy analysis, communications assistance, and other technical help to state government officials and non-profit organizations on setting budget priorities, creating revenue structures, and designing and implementing programs for low-income families and communities.

Learn more about our work on on state budget and tax issues

Federal Programs in the States

Our focus on state-level work doesn’t end with budget and tax policy. States play a vital role in implementing a host of federal programs, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and housing programs. We help ensure the vitality of these key investments in low- and middle-income families and continued support for them at the state level.

For instance, our health policy staff has been a key resource for states expanding Medicaid and establishing health insurance marketplaces under the ACA. We also have worked to simplify and streamline procedures at the state level to boost SNAP participation among working-poor families.  And, we help states design programs that can help TANF recipients succeed in the workplace and increase their earnings.   

Learn more about our work on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, SNAP in the states and TANF in the states

The State Priorities Partnership

We also coordinate the State Priorities Partnership, a network of more than 40 independent, nonprofit research and policy organizations. Launched over two decades ago as the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative (SFAI), the Partnership works to expand economic opportunity, reduce inequality, and fight poverty by making sure that states have the resources they need to invest in good schools, quality health care, and other priorities.  It strives to improve state policy in a variety of other areas, including immigration, criminal justice, economic development, and accountable budgeting.