The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Since we were founded in 2002 as a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) has brought together economic and legal scholars who analyze and explain some of the nation’s thorniest public policy issues. Our non-partisan mission is to support and encourage robust public debate over federal, state, and local tax policy. We do so by striving to provide timely, accessible, objective, and unbiased data and analysis to policy makers, the media, and the public on a subject where good data and analysis can sometimes be in short supply.
To that end, TPC fills an important role. Government analysts produce and share similar analyses with specific elected or appointed officials but are generally not free to share their results with the public. In contrast, TPC was founded on the principle that data and analysis should be available to all policymakers and the public. We believe this transparency helps an engaged electorate understand the implications of tax policy choices and in turn leads to better decisions.
Like a seasoned umpire, TPC calls them like it sees them. That means we stay true to the tenets of tax reform – raising adequate revenue in a way that emphasizes efficiency, equity, and simplicity. And it means relying on mainstream economic thinking to inform our models and analyses. It also means engaging in vigorous internal debates and discussions with outside experts about how best to apply this thinking to real world problems.
TPC takes pride in being transparent about the assumptions we incorporate into our analysis. Detailed descriptions of our methodology are available on our website. In many cases, we need to interpret the meaning of provisions that are not well-specified in a proposal. We are explicit about these choices and encourage dialogue with the sponsors of proposals to fill in important details. In addition, we are always willing to update our analysis as new details emerge (for example, as preliminary proposals are fleshed out). We believe this process helps advance the public debate.
But like an umpire, we are sometimes subject to criticism. When critics identify legitimate problems with our models or approach, we make the appropriate fixes. But if the criticism is merely a political reaction to an unfavorable result, we’ll continue to do what TPC does best – producing unbiased analyses on which policymakers, the media, and the American public can rely.
Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.