Thursday, March 17, 2016

Former DC Mayor Fighting Powerful DC Think Tank

While the Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation and other think tank behemoths battle each other over policy priorities, an enormous amount of policy battles are taking place under-the-radar at state-level think tanks across the country.

The Washington Post details one battle that is going in within Washington, DC:
[Former DC Mayor Anthony Williams's] preference for staying out of the limelight seemed to fit perfectly with his job at the Federal City Council, the historically insular group of business executives, when he took the helm in 2012. The idea was to influence policymaking behind the scenes, building on a tradition of guiding ambitious civic projects that can reshape the city over a generation or longer. The group has pushed for school reform, for example, and long ago championed the building of the Metro system.
But in an era of hashtags, viral videos and online petitions, Williams is stepping out from behind the curtain again. This time, it’s to expand the group’s mission to push out research and lobby on behalf of big business in front of D.C. Council.
His group has sized up a powerful rival in the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, a think tank on local issues that was established by the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
To the chagrin of Williams’s executives, the District has advanced a series of the think tank’s priorities, passing a major increase to the minimum wage and proposing family leave and other worker protections that, if approved, would rank among the strongest – and maybe most expensive – in the country.

Here is the homepage of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI).