Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

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The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is an American non-profit think tank that analyzes the impacts of budget policies and promotes effective approaches to reducing poverty. It was founded in 1981, and is based in Washington, D.C. The Center describes itself as a "policy organization...working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals".[1]


The Center examines the short- and long-term impacts of proposed budget and tax policies on the economy, on federal and state budgets, and on households in different income groups. It also examines whether federal and state governments are addressing critical priorities, both for low- and moderate-income Americans and for the population as a whole, and whether they have sufficient revenues to do so.[2]

In addition, the Center identifies and promotes effective approaches to reducing poverty. Specifically, it designs measures to make key programs for low- and moderate-income populations more accessible to eligible recipients, more effective in helping them meet their basic needs while moving toward self-sufficiency, and simpler for federal and state governments to administer. Moreover, the Center analyzes trends in poverty and income at the national and state levels, including trends in income inequality. The Center works on issues related to and including:

The Center runs an outreach campaign that—working with thousands of organizations across the country, including community groups, businesses, unions, and government agencies—helps eligible families apply for the EITC and the Child Tax Credit.

In 2007 the Center began to examine the impact of climate change policies on the federal budget and on low- and moderate-income households. Policies to address climate change will raise the cost of fossil-fuel energy, and the Center is designing policy options to ensure that these added costs do not increase poverty or hardship among low-income families. The Center is also producing analyses showing that climate-change legislation can generate enough revenue not only to protect low-income families, but also to address other needs related to the fight against global warming without increasing the deficit.

Growth and influence[edit]

Based in Washington, D.C., the Center was founded in 1981 by Robert Greenstein, who continues to serve as executive director. In 2006 the Center had a staff of about 80 and an annual budget of about $16 million.[3]

In 1993, the Center helped to create the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative (SFAI), a growing network of independent, state-level think tanks that examine state budget and tax policies and their effect on low- and moderate-income households. SFAI groups produce analyses and conduct public education. As of 2008, SFAI groups existed in 31 states that, together, comprise three-quarters of the U.S. population.

In 1997, the Center established the International Budget Partnership (IBP) to help non-governmental organizations in emerging democracies and developing countries conduct budget analysis to make their budget systems more transparent and responsive. IBP initiatives include the Open Budget Index, the first study to rate countries on how open their budget books and processes are to their citizens.

While the CBPP claims to be non-partisan, journalists have characterized it as liberal or left of center.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Policy positions[edit]

On February 10, 2014, the Center released an article by Richard Kogan in opposition to changing the accounting procedures in the federal budget for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), something the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014 (H.R. 1872; 113th Congress) would do. In the article, Kogan argues that the bill would make "federal loan and loan guarantee programs look more expensive to the federal government than they really are."[12] Kogan expresses his concern that due to the apparently increased costs of various programs, policymakers may react by raising taxes and cutting programs.[12] Kogan cites numbers from the CBO saying that 44 of the 100 programs that would be counted differently actually make money (through fees and interest), but 33 of them would look like they cost the government money under the bill's new counting requirements.[12]


The Center is supported by a number of foundations, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, as well as individual donors.[13] It accepts no government support.


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