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The Center conducts research and analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that the needs of low-income families and individuals are considered in these debates. They also develop policy options to alleviate poverty. In addition, the Center examines the short- and long-term impacts that proposed policies would have on the health of the economy and on the soundness of federal and state budgets. Work on federal budget priorities, for example, now includes extensive analysis of all significant tax proposals that would affect the fiscal outlook and the resources available to meet important needs. Work on poverty issues now includes in-depth analysis of virtually all major federal low-income benefit programs, including Medicaid and SCHIP, the Food Stamp Program, WIC and child nutrition programs, TANF, low-income tax credits, and low-income housing programs.

Over the past two decades, the Center has gained a reputation for producing materials that are balanced, authoritative, accessible to non-specialists, and responsive to issues currently before the country. Their materials are used by policymakers and non-profit organizations across the political spectrum, as well as by journalists from a variety of media outlets. Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits highlights the Center as one of the nation’s 12 most effective nonprofits. It notes that, with the smallest annual budget, the Center “has influenced federal and state policies and budget decisions that have affected the lives of millions of low-income Americans” and is “a great example of getting more bang for your buck.”