Tools You Can Use - Links to Various Resources
by Guest Blogger, 9/19/2003
Listing of useful federal budget and tax resources for nonprofits. Prepared for the Federation for Community Planning's "Federal Budget Training Academy" held in DC September 21-24, 2003.
Alliance for Justice, Nonprofit Advocacy Project: "Works to strengthen the voice of the nonprofit sector in important public policy debates by giving tax-exempt organizations a better understanding of the laws that govern their participation in the policy process."
OMB Watch Nonprofit Policy and Advocacy/Community Education Center: Covers federal actions that impact nonprofit advocacy rights or accountability; provides email updates, action alerts and notices.
NPAction.org: "An online resource that supports capacity building for nonprofit advocacy."
Charity Lobbying in the Public Interest: "Educates charities about the important role lobbying can play in achieving their missions."
Research, Policy Analysis, Data
Brookings Institution: "An independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to research, analysis, education, and publication focused on public policy issues in the areas of economics, foreign policy, and governance."
Center for Economic Policy Research: "To promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives?conducts professional research and public education."
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP): "A national, nonprofit organization that conducts research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and advocacy on issues related to economic security for low-income families with children."
Center for National Policy: "What Government Does": Analytical tool focusing on federal spending in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Provides a wealth of analyses of legislation, including budget and tax policy; sponsors the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative.
Citizens for Tax Justice: "Nonpartisan, nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to fair taxation at the federal, state, and local levels."
Concord Coalition: Anti-deficit, fiscal responsibility focus, work on federal budget, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Economic Policy Institute: Nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy;" publishes a monthly e-newsletter; sponsors the Economic Analysis and Research (state) network.
Heritage Foundation: "Think tank, whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense;" website includes a budget tool, interactive calculators, and charts. Information on federal and state budgets from conservative perspective.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation' s Kids Count: Annual report including state profiles of child well-being.
National Center for Children in Poverty, Let's Invest in Children Today State-by-state databases and research on children and poverty.
National Priorities Project: "Offers citizen and community groups tools and resources to shape federal budget and policy priorities which promote social and economic justice;" features interactive database providing state-level data on socio-economic needs and federal expenditures on such issues as hunger, education, housing, poverty/income and military spending, allowing the user to create customized tables, graphs and reports; newsletter.
OMB Watch: Research and advocacy; follows federal budget and tax issues; chairs "Americans for A Fair Estate Tax;" offers email listservs and a bi-weekly newsletter, The OMB Watcher. Also works on budget and government performance, regulatory and government accountability; information for democracy and community; nonprofit advocacy and other cross-cutting nonprofit issues; and nonprofit policy and technology; sponsors the Right to Know Network with access to numerous databases, text files, and conferences on the environment.
Rockefeller Institute's Gateway to State and Local Government Information: Clearinghouse for news, data and analysis on the finances and employment of state and local governments.
United for a Fair Economy: "National, independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization focused on raising "awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart;" sponsors an "Economics Education Program" with materials and training on tax and budget issues.
Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: "Provides timely, accessible analysis and facts about tax policy to policymakers, journalists, citizens, and researchers."
Americans for a Fair Estate Tax: Broad-based non-partisan coalition of nonprofit groups advocating that instead of repealing the tax on multi-million-dollar estates, Congress should reform the estate tax.
Campaign for America's Future (CAF): "Challenging the big money corporate agenda by encouraging Americans to speak up - to discuss and debate a new vision of an economy and a future that works for all of us;" offers email updates.
Center for American Progress: new, "nonpartisan research and educational institute... mission is to join the national debate and promote ideas and policies that best reflect the aspirations and interests of the American people."
Center for Community Change: "Dedicated to improving low income communities by strengthening organizations run by people who live in these communities" sponsors the "National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support (NCJIS)."
Center for Economic Progress: "Experts on income-taxes, government policy and public benefits." Sponsor of the National Community Tax Coalition with listserv on low-income tax issues.
Coalition on Human Needs: "Alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies that address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations;" publish excellent newsletter about legislative activity and alerts.
Fair Taxes for All: Active, broad-based nationwide coalition opposing "massive, irresponsible tax cuts."
Moveon.org: Builds "electronic advocacy groups" to address the "disconnect between broad public opinion and legislative action."
Appropriations Committees: Responsible for appropriations (also supplemental) bills.
Bureau of Economic Analysis: "Promotes a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic data in an objective and cost-effective manner."
Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.
Budget Committees: Responsible for the budget resolution, budget process issues, and oversight.
Committee on Ways and Means (House): Originator of legislation to do with tax and revenue.
Congressional Budget Office: "Purpose is to supply Congress with analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process;" publishes Monthly Budget Reviews, Analysis of the President's Budget; and Budget and Economic Outlook.
Congressional Research Service: "Serves Congress throughout the legislative process by providing comprehensive and reliable legislative research and analysis." (Unfortunately, CRS reports are not publicly available on the web. A helpful start is the Law Librarians' Society list. Some congressional offices also make reports available, i.e., Congressman Mark Green's website.
Federal Reserve - Economic Research and Data: Monetary policy, regulating banking, maintaining stability of financial system, providing financial services
Finance Committee (Senate): Jurisdiction over tax and revenue.
Joint Economic Committee: Reviews economic conditions, recommends improvements in economic policy.
General Accounting Office: Audit, evaluation and investigative arm of Congress.
Government Printing Office Access: Contains links to House and Senate Committees and congressional publications.
House Clerk: Contains membership and committee information.
Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT): helps Congress with drafting legislation, does revenue estimates for all tax legislation, studies various aspects of tax and prepares reports and analyses
Office of Management and Budget (OMB): "OMB's predominant mission is to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and to supervise its administration in Executive Branch agencies." Website gives access to the President's Budget, Statements of Administration Policy (SAPs), OMB's Mid-session Review, information on government performance and management.
Senate Website: Contains membership and committee information, vote counts, process information.
The Statistics of Income Service of the Internal Revenue Service: "Mission of the SOI program is to collect and process data so that they become meaningful information and to disseminate this information to its customers and users."
Thomas: Legislative Information on the Web: (sponsored by The Library of Congress) contains House floor schedule; House floor now; legislation summary, status, text, amendments, voting counts of Senate and House bills; links to the Congressional Record; committee information; and an appropriations status chart.
US Census Bureau: Important source of statistics; annual report on poverty; rolling updated "American Community Survey."
White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room: Provides easy access to federal economic indicators.
Other Resources on the Web
Budget Explorer: Interactive display of federal budget
Cost of War: Constantly updated counter of the cost of the war in Iraq, with comparisons to priorities, like education, kids' health, public housing (both federally and in selected communities.
Fed 101: Federal Reserve System economic education web site.
The New York Times
The Praxis Project's Fighting Back on Budget Cuts "Resource for organizers, community groups, and public agencies at various levels of capacity working to build support for healthy budget priorities;" focused on state tobacco/health priorities, but has good information on message, framing, media, building grassroots support
TechPolitics: Constituency data and key votes for the 108th Congress.
The Washington Post
Resources that Cost, but May be Worth It
Budget of the US Government: Free online version on OMB website, but paper volumes, and a searchable CD, can be ordered through the Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office at 866-512-1800
So You Want to Make A Difference: Advocacy is the Key, by Nancy Amidei:
(available from OMB Watch - $7.00 cost)
The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process: Allen Schick
The Guide to the Federal Budget: Stanley E. Collender
The New Politics of the Budgetary Process (4th ed): Aaron Wildavsky and Naomi Caiden
*This list is not at all inclusive and some of the groups fall into more than one category, i.e., they do both research/analysis and advocacy. It does not include the many national issue groups. It also does not include unions, whose websites are often very valuable sources of information. A Google search is alway a good way to local information and materials.