August 29, 2011

The Following article originated from

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) was founded in 1981 for the specific purpose of analyzing the impact of federal budget priorities and proposed tax policies on America's poor. Since the 1990s the organization has broadened its focus to include also state budgets and their implications "both for low-income populations and for the nation as a whole."

Reasoning from the premise that tax cuts generally help only the wealthy, CBPP advocates greater tax expenditures on social welfare programs for low earners. 

CBPP's research encompasses the following areas:

(a) Asset Tests in Public Benefit Programs: "The major means-tested benefit programs, including the Food Stamp Program, cash welfare assistance, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income, either require or allow states to apply asset tests when determining eligibility. Applicants whose assets exceed a dollar limit set for the program are ineligible for benefits, even if they have little or no income."

b) Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): The Center's EITC Kit "contains up-to-date fact sheets on the EITC and the Child Tax Credit, including new information on how workers with disabilities and families raising children with disabilities may take advantage of these credits. … It includes promotional materials … in English and Spanish … and a comprehensive guide … on how to run a successful outreach campaign to reach workers eligible for these valuable tax credits …"

(c) Food Assistance: "The Center helps states make the Food Stamp Program easier for eligible persons to participate in and … help[s] states design their own food stamp programs for persons ineligible for the federal program. … [T]he WIC [Women, Infants, and Children] program includes ensuring that sufficient federal funds are provided to serve all eligible applicants … [The] child nutrition program focuses on helping states and school districts implement recent changes in how they determine a child's eligibility for free or reduced-priced school meals."

(d) Health Policy Analyses: "The Center works to ensure that Federal and state health insurance programs provide coverage that meets the health care needs of low-income children and families, as well as seniors and people with disabilities."

(e) Housing Policy: "The Center works with state and local housing agencies and advocates to ensure that federal housing subsidies are directed to the families most in need."

(f) Low-Income Immigrants: "The Center works to ensure that legal immigrants and children living in immigrant families have the same access as other Americans to public programs designed to help low-income working families."

(g) Poverty and Income: "The Center's analyses spotlight major economic developments affecting low- and moderate-income Americans, including trends in poverty, income inequality, employment, wages, and the working poor."

(h) Program Simplification and Coordination: "Complex and duplicative paperwork requirements prevent many low-income families -- especially working families -- from receiving benefits that can help them meet basic needs such as food, health care, and child care."

(i) Social Security: Opposed to the partial privatization of Social Security, CBPP says: "Under the private accounts proposal, any worker who opted for a private account would face a … benefit cut, to pay for the private account."

A steadfast proponent of raising the minimum wage, CBPP issued a January 2007 report that stated: "Raising the minimum wage would be an important first step and a useful complement to public policies like the EITC, food stamps, and child care subsidies, which provide additional benefits and supports for low-income working families."

CBPP coordinates the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative, a network of state policy research organizations in 29 states committed "to rigorous policy analysis, responsible budget and tax policies, [with] a particular focus on the needs of low- and moderate-income families." Member organizations include groups that regularly advocate increased government spending on the environment, higher wages for workers, and universal health care.

In 1997 CBPP formed the International Budget Project  (IBP) to assist non-governmental organizations in developing countries and newly emerging democracies to make the national budgets in those nations "open and more responsive to the needs of society." The IBP has received funding from the Department for International Development, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Institute.

CBPP is a member organization of the Moving Ideas Network (MIN), a coalition of more than 250 leftwing activist organizations working to develop and disseminate progressive policy and advocacy recommendations.

CBPP Board members include, among others: Henry J. Aaron, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund; and Robert D. Reischauer, President of the Urban Institute.

Funding for CBPP is provided by such foundations as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Freddie Mac Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.


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