The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) is a left-of-center policy advocacy organization focused on Georgia state policy. The organization claims to be an “anti-racist” organization, and advocates for increased economic and legislative advantages for ethnic minority groups and LGBT people. 1 The Institute aligns with labor unions and is a member of the Economic Analysis and Research Network, a coalition of state-level think tanks affiliated with the labor union-backed Economic Policy Institute.
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute was founded in 2004 by Alan Essig. Essig is a tax-policy journalist who works for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, and has written numerous articles advocating for progressive and wealth taxes on predominately white communities, claiming that American tax-law is designed to benefit white people. 2 3 Essig stepped down from his position as executive director for the organization in 2015.
People Powered Prosperity is a project of Georgia Budget and Policy Institute that advocates for the Georgia state legislature to redirect state education funds to low-income communities, and especially communities of color. The project also calls for an increase in federal funds to provide Medicaid for 500,000 uninsured Georgians, to provide free technical trade schooling, and to increase tax incentives for low income people. 4
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is a member of the Cover Georgia coalition, a collective of organizations advocating for expansion of government-provided health care in the state of Georgia. The coalition pushes for universal access to Medicaid for 474,000 uninsured Georgians, and for the protection of the Affordable Care Act. 5
The Cover Georgia coalition includes a large number of left-of-center and liberal organizations. Most notably, the organization lists such members as Jobs With Justice, a national coalition of labor union-aligned workers centers known to advocate for liberal labor-related policy; League of Women Voters, a left-of-center a liberal lobbying organization; Planned Parenthood, America’s largest provider of abortions; and the Anti-Defamation League, a left-of-center civil rights advocacy group. 6
Georgia Work Credit
GBPI is a founding member of Georgia Work Credit. Georgia Work Credit is a left-of-center organization that advocates for an earned income tax credit for the lowest income people in the state of Georgia, granting workers a larger credit for factors such as marriage status, number of children, and household income. 7 The organization advocates for an increased credit for women working similar hours and for similar wages to their male counterparts. 8
The organization is financially supported by left-of-center organizations including GBPI. Most notable among these are 9to5, a labor-union advocacy organization; the Georgia NAACP, the state branch of one of the largest left-of-center civil rights organizations in the United States; Women’s Policy Institute, a liberal gender advocacy organization; and Faith in Public Life, a left-of-center policy advocacy organization which was formerly a project of Center for American Progress.9
According to IRS filings, GBPI reported net assets of $1,704,509 in 2018. The organization received $1,573,696 in grants in the same year. 10
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is funded primarily through grants from left-of-center and liberal organizations. Notably, it has received numerous grants totaling $1,323,376 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest left-of-center grantmaking foundations in the world. 11 The organization has also received $337,500 from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, a grantmaking organization that supports left-of-center causes in the Southeastern United States;12 a $500,000 grant in 2020 from the Rockefeller Foundation, a large left-of-center grantmaking organization;13 and $50,000 in 2006 from the Public Welfare Foundation, a left-of-center criminal justice reform and labor policy-oriented grantmaking foundation. 14
On the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute website, the only employee position listed under “Leadership” is Dominique Derbigny Sims, who currently serves as Senior Vice President. 15 She previously served as deputy director of Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap (CWWG), a network of advocates seeking to “advance gender economic equity and close the gender wealth gap.” 16 17
The position of president was previously filled by Taifa Smith Butler from 2015 to 2021. In July 2021, Smith Butler was appointed as president of Demos, a left-of-center policy-oriented organization that pushes a liberal agenda across numerous issue areas, of which she was previously a member of the board of trustees since 2017. 18 She is currently a member of the board of directors for the Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, a left-of-center grantmaking foundation focused on education and mental health advocacy in and around Atlanta. She also works as a freelance motivational speaker. Smith Butler was the only employee of the organization who received reportable compensation on the GBPI tax returns, receiving $143,750 in base salary in 2018. 19 20
David Schaefer is a research director at GBPI. Schaefer previously worked as the managing director for the Latin American Association, a liberal organization based in Georgia that advocates for expansionist immigration policy and tax-policy designed to benefit illegal immigrants. 21 22
- “Our Commitment.” Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://gbpi.org/equity-and-inclusion/
- “The Illusion of Race-Neutral Tax Policy.” Essig, Alan. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://itep.org/the-illusion-of-race-neutral-tax-policy/
- “Making a Case to Tax the Rich.” Essig, Alan. Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://itep.org/making-a-case-to-tax-the-rich/
- People Powered Prosperity. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://gbpi.org/people-powered-prosperity/
- “About Medicaid Expansion.” Cover Georgia. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://coverga.org/about/about-medicaid-expansion/
- “Coalition Partners.” Cover Georgia. Accessed December 30, 2020. https://coverga.org/about/coalition-partners/
- “What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?” Georgia Work Credit. Accessed December 30, 2020. https://georgiaworkcredit.org/about-eitc/
- “Georgia Women Need a Georgia Work Credit.” Georgia Work Credit. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://georgiaworkcredit.org/georgia-women-need-state-earned-income-tax-credit/
- “Supporters.” Georgia Work Credit. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://georgiaworkcredit.org/supporters/
- 2018 IRS Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Part I Summary.
- “Grants Awarded: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.” Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed December 29, 2020. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database#q/k=georgia%20budget%20and%20policy
- “Grants Made.” Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.mrbf.org/grants/list?field_grant_amount_value=&field_grant_year_value%5Bvalue%5D%5Byear%5D=&keys=Georgia+Budget+and+Policy+Institute&field_location_administrative_area=All
- “Grants Made: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.” Rockefeller Foundation. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/grant/grant-georgia-budget-and-policy-institute-2020-2/
- “Annual Report.” Public Welfare Foundation. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://folio.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/10244/153/FINAL_FuszionFOR%20WEB4%203%2007.pdf?sequence=1
- “Staff and Board.” Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, February 8, 2022. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://gbpi.org/about-us/staff-and-board/.
- “Dominique Derbigny Sims.” Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, January 3, 2022. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://gbpi.org/experts/dominique-derbigny-sims/.
- “Our Work.” Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap, November 30, 2020. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://womenswealthgap.org/our-work/.
- Press Release. “Visionary Leader Taifa Smith Butler Named President of Demos.” Demos, April 13, 2021. https://www.demos.org/press-release/visionary-leader-taifa-smith-butler-named-president-demos.
- 2018 IRS Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Part VII: Officer Compensation.
- “User Profile: Taifa Smith Butler.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/taifasmithbutler/
- “User Profile: David Schaefer.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidtschaefer1/
- “Our Mission.” Latin American Association. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://thelaa.org/our-mission/