Creating a more just and equitable state
The Washington State Budget & Policy Center is proudly celebrating 15 years of advancing progressive economic policy change in 2021. We couldn’t have gotten here without our partners and friends – and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with partner organizations, community leaders, advocates, and lawmakers to build an inclusive and equitable economy. (Support our efforts now.)
In 2006, a visionary group of public policy experts, community leaders, and social justice advocates founded the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to building a stronger, more equitable state. We develop analyses, communications, and policies that aim to ensure:
- A person’s race or ethnicity does not determine their health or access to opportunity
- All children have access to great schools
- People earn wages that support themselves and their loved ones
- The economy is strong and our tax code serves everyone
Partnering to support people’s well-being
We work with partners and grassroots coalitions to advance budget and tax policies that eliminate disparities based on race – disparities that are the result of historic and persistent economic policies designed to channel wealth and opportunity to white people at the expense of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. And we work to ensure everyone has the chance to live a life of economic dignity. We do this by:
- Developing and advancing bold policy solutions that clean up the tax code and invest in people’s well-being
- Analyzing how budget and policy decisions affect critical budget investments
- Using strategic communications to shift the public debate
- Building and engaging with progressive coalitions
Learn about how we aspire to keep anti-racism at the forefront of our work and about our framework for advancing progress. And find out about the strategies and tactics we’re using to achieve major progressive public policy changes in our 2018-2022 strategic planning framework.
As a Seattle-based organization, the Budget & Policy Center is committed to paying Real Rent to the Duwamish Tribe. Although the city named for the Duwamish Chief Seattle thrives, the tribe has yet to be justly compensated for their land, resources, and livelihood. Learn more about how paying Real Rent helps us be in solidarity with the First Peoples of this land.
Our Commitment to Anti-Racism
How We Will Work to Undo White Supremacy
Racially inequitable outcomes in health, education, and wealth and income are not random. They are the consequences of past and persistent policy and budget decisions that are embedded and reinforced in our social, economic, and political systems; our institutions; our practices; and our social and cultural norms. Our organization’s mission requires that we address the impact of economic and fiscal policies designed to maintain power and resources to whites and disenfranchise, exclude, and extract wealth from Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). To accomplish our mission, we must dismantle white supremacy within our organization – by transforming how we work together, share power, raise and manage resources, communicate with external audiences, conduct research and analysis, and develop policy.
We have upheld white supremacy
We have not done enough to dismantle systems and norms of white supremacy within our own organization and within the sphere of statewide policymaking. Some of the ways we have been complicit include:
- Upholding a culture of white supremacy within the Budget & Policy Center, including relying on staff of color to move racial equity work forward and advancing policy proposals without considering what BIPOC communities actually need or want from our work.
- Failing to confront the central role of racism and anti-Blackness in shaping public policy and government institutions, and participating in policymaking processes that impact BIPOC communities but where BIPOC communities are not authentically included.
- Not investing in building and maintaining authentic relationships with advocates and organizations that are rooted in communities most impacted by economic and fiscal policy.
- Not prioritizing and being responsible for our own learning about how systems of oppression interact with one another and how white supremacy is connected to, and reinforces, the harms of racism, wealth inequality, sexism, ableism, and other systems of oppression.
We commit to do better
We make the following commitments in how we do our research, communications, development, operations, and policy work as well as how we work together as a staff and operate internally:
- Unlearn and dismantle a culture of white supremacy within our organization.
- Work internally and with partners to disrupt the culture of white supremacy in state advocacy, lobbying, and policymaking.
- Acknowledge our own complicity in maintaining systems of oppression.
- Work to share power and decision making with organizations that focus on grassroots organizing with BIPOC communities.
- Approach our work with an analysis of how systems of oppression like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and classism work together to create overlapping and interdependent systems of injustice.
We must commit to anti-racism immediately and use our own organizational transformation as the foundation for dismantling white supremacy in statewide economic and fiscal policymaking.
We invite your feedback with us as we continue to learn, grow, and live out this commitment across our work. Please contact us by emailing [email protected] or by reaching out to a member of our team.