Today marks the last day of 2019 and the end of the decade and GBPI’s 15th anniversary year. We’ll officially wrap our anniversary celebration on Friday, January 24 at our annual Insights policy conference with New York Time’s Nikole Hannah-Jones as our keynote speaker. You don’t want to miss it.
My heart is filled with gratitude as I reflect on all that GBPI has accomplished in just 15 years.
Since 2004, our data-driven, fact-focused research has catalyzed more money for public schools, improved workforce development programs, reinstated food assistance benefits to non-violent offenders and their families, created a need-based financial aid program meant to support low-income students and so much more. We also informed a host of efforts that drove millions of dollars to fund services ranging from mental health and substance abuse to infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges.
We remain the state’s leading voice on budget and tax policy while becoming sought-after experts on health care, education, human services, working families and economic security. In 2018, we launched our People-Powered Prosperity campaign that creates a people-first economic vision and offers policy solutions that help Georgians. That vision serves as the basis of our growing outreach efforts and has been foundational as we set our priorities for the future. Policy that does not center people, nor weigh its intention and the ultimate impact on people, is not effectively-crafted public policy.
We walk into this next decade with the intention and commitment to see people first and ensure that public policy no longer has disparate outcomes on people of color, especially Black and Brown Georgians. Georgians of color living across the state confirmed for us the realities they face every day during our listening sessions this year. Georgia’s history of slavery, Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration created difficult barriers to overcome for far too many families and the effects persists. The struggle is real for too many families.
Inequities created by systemic racist policies must be met with moral courage and a policy-specific call to action. GBPI is on a journey to be more race-forward. This is a critical next step to improve GBPI’s ability to offer the best solutions that center equity and inclusion and bring lasting change for Georgians of color.
This is not a different GBPI than you’ve known for 15 years, but it is a better GBPI. We’re more committed than ever to illuminating the facts and policies that expand opportunity for everyone.
Together, Georgia Families Can Win
Looking ahead to 2020, GBPI faces a busy year. Session will likely be short and we have much to accomplish. We are so close to passing a Georgia Work Credit, which will help low- and moderate-income families pay less income tax. We will also be battling a cut to the top income tax rate that could lead to cuts on critical public safety, education and health care programs. Seventy-five percent of the benefits would go to households with incomes of more than $100,000. We will continue our work advocating for a better school funding formula, Medicaid expansion and equitable higher education policies. We will analyze the budget policies put forth by the Legislature and defend against potential cuts to critical services that could largely harm Georgians with low or moderate incomes. And we will expand our outreach work, so that we can better engage with partners and communities throughout Georgia to ensure our policy priorities keep people first and that people’s voices are centered in the solutions.
GBPI is poised to have a monumental year in 2020. I hope we can count on you to stand with us for Georgia families. Happy New Year!