February 25, 2015
This week is the last chance to register in advance for Policy Insights 2015 on March 4th in Sacramento. Pre-registration ends this Friday, so don’t miss out on saving your spot at the premier conference for advocates, policymakers, researchers, and other leaders working to improve the lives of low- and middle-income Californians.
Why register for our annual conference? There are at least five good reasons:
1. Keynote by Ezra Klein. The editor-in-chief of Vox.com will discuss the intersection of data analysis, new media, and public policy, and what it means for California and the nation.
2. Perspectives on a Changing State. A luncheon plenary with State Senator Holly Mitchell, Zocalo Public Square’s Joe Mathews, and Manuel Pastor of USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity will examine the opportunities and questions presented by a changing California.
3. Policy Prospects for Creating a More Equitable Future. An afternoon plenary with recent legislative leaders John Perez and Darrell Steinberg and former state finance director Ana Matosantos will discuss how California can make policy choices that position the state for economic prosperity that is broadly shared.
4. A Variety of Workshop Sessions on Critical State Issues. Workshop sessions will examine state revenue options, strategies for addressing poverty in California, support for higher education, the federal policy landscape, sentencing reform, the state budget debate, current issues in K-12 education, and children’s health. (Read the full workshop descriptions.)
5. Birthday Cake. The California Budget Project is having its 20th anniversary this year. Come help us celebrate!
Be sure to sign-up by the advance registration deadline of this Friday so you don’t miss out. We look forward to seeing you on March 4th!
— Steven Bliss
February 23, 2015
Most people are aware that we spend money on public programs to support various policy goals, but less well known is that we also “spend” a lot of tax money by not collecting it in the first place. Lawmakers and voters can do this by approving exceptions to the state’s (and the nation’s) basic tax structure through what are called “tax expenditures.” The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates that for state fiscal year 2014-15 California would have half again as much General Fund revenue — $55 billion more — if we had no tax expenditures. That’s a big sum of money, and you can bet that if it were program spending, people would scrutinize it with a magnifying glass.
So what do we get from forgoing all this revenue? Do these tax expenditures actually achieve their goals? The truth is, it’s hard to say for sure because we often simply don’t have good data and haven’t done a good job legislating rigorous evaluation and oversight. Tax expenditures vary broadly, ranging from the exemption of most food and candy sales from the sales tax, to the Mortgage Interest Deduction, to tax breaks for businesses, and more. Check out the LAO’s overview of the biggest tax expenditures in California, pros and cons of pushing policy goals through the tax code instead of public programs, and challenges in using them effectively.
— William Chen
February 18, 2015
There’s just a couple of days left to save on registration for Policy Insights 2015, our annual conference coming up on March 4th in Sacramento. In addition to celebrating the CBP’s 20th anniversary, we’re excited to have Ezra Klein, editor-in-chief of Vox.com, providing the keynote address on how timely, accessible analysis and commentary can shape and advance public policy.
Other plenary speakers will include State Senator Holly Mitchell, Manuel Pastor of USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, Zocalo Public Square’s Joe Mathews, John A. Pérez, Darrell Steinberg, and former Department of Finance Director Ana J. Matosantos.
The conference will also feature a wide range of workshop sessions at which participants can discuss many of the critical issues facing our state. Some of these sessions include:
Revenue and Tax Policy: Weighing Options and Prospects for Reform
- Tim Gage, Blue Sky Consulting Group
- Lenny Goldberg, California Tax Reform Association
- Jean Ross, Ford Foundation and former executive director, California Budget Project
State Support for California’s Public Universities: Looking Beyond the Current Debate, Reinvesting for the Long Term
- Lande Ajose, California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy
- Debbie Cochrane, The Institute for College Access & Success
- Hans P. Johnson, Public Policy Institute of California
Children’s Health Programs in California: Where We Are and What Comes Next
- Kelly Hardy, Children Now
- Jenny Kattlove, The Children’s Partnership
- Edwin Park, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Visit the Policy Insights 2015 event page for a full list of workshops and other conference sessions and to reserve your spot at the premier conference for advocates, policymakers, researchers, and other leaders working to improve the lives of low- and middle-income Californians.
Early–bird registration has been extended through tomorrow, February 19, so register today.
— Steven Bliss
February 5, 2015
We are pleased to announce that Ezra Klein, one of the foremost thinkers on the intersection of media, data-driven analysis, and public policy, will be the keynote speaker at Policy Insights 2015 on March 4th in Sacramento.
Klein is founding editor-in-chief of Vox.com, a columnist with Bloomberg News, and policy analyst/contributor at MSNBC. He previously oversaw the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog and was associate editor at The American Prospect.
In his morning keynote, Klein will explore California’s role in national policy debates and will discuss what the changing media environment means for how timely, accessible analysis and commentary can shape the discussion.
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from this leading and always thought-provoking observer of the political scene — and also to join the CBP in celebrating our 20th anniversary! The early-bird discount ends on February 13th, so register today.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-444-0500.
— Steven Bliss