In 2005, a visionary group of public policy experts, community leaders, and social justice advocates joined forces to create an organization that would ensure that Washington state invests in the priorities that create a more just and prosperous state. Priorities like schools and health care, economic security and jobs.
A year later, the Washington State Budget & Policy Center was officially open for business. The organization’s goal: to advance the well-being of Washington communities and improve the economic and social opportunity of all in the state – with a particular focus on people struggling to get by.
Today, all of us at the Budget & Policy Center are proud to be celebrating 10 years of fulfilling that goal.
We have spent the past decade conducting the rock-solid research and analysis it takes to develop common-sense policy solutions. We’ve put our findings into the hands of legislators, decision makers, and grassroots advocates who mobilize for change. In so doing, we’ve worked in a bipartisan way to help shape the public debate and build diverse coalitions – all to help Washington be a state where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Throughout this time, the Budget & Policy Center has become the go-to source for comprehensive budget analysis and policy solutions that respond to crucial issues in Olympia and across our state. The result has been many significant policy wins that keep Washingtonians moving forward – from enacting the Working Families Tax Rebate to eliminating wasteful corporate tax breaks, expanding Medicaid healthcare coverage to passing legislation that supports early childhood education. (Click on the graphic for many more details.)
Click on the image to see the full two-page PDF.
That isn’t to say that we haven’t faced challenges. A historic recession that set our economy and workers back, cuts to public investments that put many people at risk of falling behind, and repeated ballot initiative attempts to help powerful interests at the expense of the common good, to name a few. And there’s plenty left to do – especially turning around the most upside-down tax structure in the nation, where people with the lowest incomes pay seven times the rate in state and local taxes than the wealthiest 1 percent.
At the Budget & Policy Center, we will remain a key player defending our state against these challenges. We have been, and will remain, focused on the long game. We share a vision of Washington as a state where all children go to great schools; workers earn what they need to build a secure future; the environment is healthy; and all communities can thrive. A state where people from all races, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and zip codes have equal opportunity for prosperity. Where the tax code isn’t set up to favor the powerful few.
Speaking of that long game, we’d like to show you what a difference 10 years has made. We invite you to click here or on the graphic above for a sampling of the work the Budget & Policy Center has done and the policies we’ve helped shape in our first decade. These successes are the result of the passion and commitment of our hardworking staff and board. They are a testament to the support of so many policymakers, community leaders, partner organizations, students, activists, and others we’ve worked with over the years – as well as the many generous individuals and foundations that believe in our work and invest their dollars in us. Together we are a powerful community of change-makers.
And we are just getting started. We will continue to provide the data, develop the strong messaging, and build the grassroots partnerships needed to make sure everyone in this Evergreen State can reach their full potential. We look forward to the next 10 years and beyond.