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2021 Budget and Tax Briefing: State Policy, Budget and Revenue Outlook
April 15 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDTFree
The COVID-19 pandemic and recession triggered a state budget crisis and exposed and deepened our current economy’s structural weaknesses and inequalities. The American Rescue Plan’s $350 billion in aid to state and localities and stronger than anticipated revenue projections suggest the worst may be over, leaving some state policymakers proposing harmful tax cuts and austerity policies that will slow down the recovery and cause further harm to families and communities, with disproportionate impacts on immigrants, tribal nations, communities of color, and women. Now is the time to advance bold progressive revenue policies where everyone pays their fair share and communities can thrive. Join us to learn more about how states are responding and what’s at stake and in play in 2021.
- Karina Jiménez Lewis, Associate Director, Policy Reform & Advocacy, The Annie E. Casey Foundation (Moderator)
- Michael Leachman, Vice President, State Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Mariya Taher, Senior Project Manager, Topos Partnership
- Brandon McKoy, President, New Jersey Policy Perspective
- Kelly Allen, Executive Director, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
- Misha Werschkul, Executive Director, Washington State Budget & Policy Center
On April 15, 2021, Economic Opportunity Funders hosted the second program of the 2021 Virtual Budget and Tax Briefing. The two-part program shared an overview of key fiscal policy and narrative battles and opportunities in the states. It also offered lessons learned and insights gained from proactive and defensive revenue campaigns in New Jersey, Washington and West Virginia.
In part one of the program, we were joined by Michael Leachman, Vice President of State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy, and Mariya Taher, Senior Project Manager at Topos Partnership. In part two, Brandon McKoy, President of New Jersey Policy Perspective, Kelly Allen, Executive Director of West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, and Misha Werschkul, Executive Director of Washington State Budget & Policy Center. Both sessions were moderated by Karina Jiménez Lewis, Associate Director of Policy Reform & Advocacy at The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Over the past year we have witnessed tremendous personal and community suffering and loss and are on the cusp of a tremendous government response that, if carried out equitably, seems poised to alleviate much of that. The American Rescue Plan targets resources to those who have experienced the worst losses and the results of systemic racism. But the policy response cannot stop there. This is an historic investment but also an opportunity to address how Government could restructure and raise the revenue that’s needed to sustain these investments for the long term.
There are important decisions to be made. Making the most of this opportunity will require strong state advocacy and infrastructure that raises policy and program changes informed by affected communities, pushes back against austerity narratives, shares lessons learned in the field, and helps policymakers advance equitable policies and holds them accountable for how dollars are spent.
Taking advantage of this opportunity will also require raising the revenue needed to win long-term transformation and build a future where everyone has the resources and supports that they need to thrive. It will mean re-thinking policies from wages to taxes to reparations. It will necessitate the pursuit of a fundamental change in the narratives of democracy, the role of government, and how we talk about taxes.
“We need to hold policymakers accountable to help raise the price of bad policy decisions and reward equity enhancing investments.”
— Michael Leachman, Vice President of State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy
“We need to work to ensure that we’re being proactive against austerity and really communicating the idea that what is our government for if not to address the biggest challenges we must face together that none of us can really solve on our own.”
— Mariya Taher, Narrative Liaison at Topos Partnership
“We need to have a bigger imagination about budgeting and make sure that we’re tying it to how we continue to improve our communities over the next several decades, not just the next several months.”
— Brandon McKoy, President of New Jersey Policy Perspective
“Our job is to show what fully funded agencies and programs and investments can do for the people of our state, and show what kind of positive impact government can have on people’s lives.”
— Kelly Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
“We need to work with policymakers to set a really ambitious narrative and agenda, but then also use that as a tool to hold them accountable.”
— Misha Werschkul, Executive Director of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center
State Fiscal Policy
- Taxes and Racial Equity: An Overview of State and Local Policy Impacts, By Carl Davis, Misha Hill, and Meg Wiehe, Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy, March 31, 2021
- The American Rescue Plan clears a path to recovery for state and local governments and the communities they serve, by David Cooper, Julia Wolfe, and Sebastian Martinez Hickey, Working Economics Blog, Economic Policy Institute, March 15, 2021.
- Rescue Plan Protects Against Using Federal Dollars to Cut State Taxes, By Nicholas Johnson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 11, 2021.
- State Fiscal Briefs, Urban Institute, February 2021: National recessions and federal tax and spending changes can affect budgets in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And big policy questions, such as whether to increase teacher salaries or expand health care access, can pop up in many states at the same time. But each state faces unique economic, political, cultural, and historical pressures that affect how fiscal issues emerge and how problems are resolved. That’s why the State and Local Finance Initiative put together these 51 briefs, detailing the dynamics that influence major policy issues in each state.
- State and Local Expenditures Background, Urban Institute
- State and Local Revenues Background, Urban Institute
- ProsperUS: ProsperUS is a coalition of movement groups, labor organizations, think tanks, experts, and advocates that believes government should invest in people.
- Americans for Tax Fairness: Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) is a diverse campaign of more than 420 national, state and local endorsing organizations united in support of a fair tax system that works for all Americans.
- Anti-Austerity Learning Community (AALC): With support from Omidyar Network, the Topos Partnership, in collaboration with Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, launched this 6-month learning community to provide resources and technical assistance to address the austerity thinking and messaging advocates are seeing coming up at the state level. Contact Mariya Taher at email@example.com to learn more.
- Anti-Austerity Message Guidance: An Evolving Document by and for the Learning Community, Topos Partnership, April 2021. Visit https://www.topospartnership.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Reclaiming Government, Topos Partnership, August 2020.
- Making the Case for Taxes, Topos Partnership, August 2020.
- NJPP Applauds Passage of State-Level Health Insurance Assessment, By Brittany Holom-Trundy, New Jersey Policy Perspective, July 30, 2020.
- Broad Coalition of Advocates Applaud State Budget, Millionaires Tax, New Jersey Policy Perspective, September 29, 2020.
- Why now is the time to pass a tax on extraordinary profits, Washington Budget and Policy Center Fact Sheet, March 2021.
- Working Families Tax Credit Video, Washington Budget and Policy Center
- W.Va. House Kills Personal Income Tax Reduction After Prodding From Gov. Justice, By Dave Mistich, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, April 9, 2021.
- The Case Against Austerity: Why Protecting Investments in West Virginia Families and Communities is Key to COVID-19 Recovery, By Sean O’Leary, West Virginia Budget and Policy Center