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The Budget Center communications team chatted with Alissa Anderson (she/her), Senior Policy Fellow at the Budget Center, who conducts research to support policies that create a more equitable economy where all Californians share in the state’s prosperity.

This Q&A series is your chance to get to know our team, their areas of expertise, and how their work at the Budget Center supports policy change in California. In this conversation, we’ll explore Alissa’s recent endeavors in tax policy and commitment to fostering wealth-building opportunities for children from low-income families in California.

This interview was edited by Kat Petsalis, Communications Strategist at the Budget Center.

Can you tell us about your role at the Budget Center?

I’m a senior policy fellow at the Budget Center, where I’ve dedicated most of my career. Initially, my focus was on labor market policy, analyzing trends in unemployment, wages, and job-based benefits to advocate for policies improving workers’ conditions, such as raising the minimum wage. 

Recently, my work has shifted towards tax policy, particularly examining how tax credits like the CalEITC can enhance families’ incomes and economic security in California. I closely collaborate with the CalEITC Coalition, providing technical assistance and research to bolster efforts aimed at expanding refundable tax credits and reducing poverty statewide.

I love collaborating with advocates who are out there doing the groundwork, working to make policy changes that put cash in the pockets of families struggling to make ends meet. Being able to help them by providing data and analysis that supports their efforts is something I find really rewarding.

What inspired your passion for public policy?

Justice has always been my core value, instilled by my father, who emphasized fighting for equity amidst systemic inequalities. I learned from him the impact of policy choices on perpetuating or alleviating inequities. My journey to policy work wasn’t linear; however, I recognized the power of policy to effect change, leading me to pursue opportunities aligned with my values.

What is something exciting you have recently worked on or are currently working on?

Recently, I contributed to a workgroup developing a plan for implementing the California Hope for Children Trust Account Program, aimed at fostering wealth-building opportunities for children from low-income families. It was exciting to collaborate with many other partners on how to implement a program that will benefit tens of thousands of children throughout the state.

Can you tell us more about HOPE accounts?

Yes! The goal of HOPE accounts is to foster wealth-building for children from low-income families, specifically those in the foster care system for more than 18 months and those who lost a parent or guardian to COVID-19.

These accounts will provide seed money that grows over time, allowing children to access the funds when they turn 18 for wealth-building activities. I collaborated with my colleague Monica Saucedo on analyzing how to structure these accounts to maximize the financial benefit for every child in the program. It’s an exciting initiative with the potential to break the cycle of poverty and create brighter futures for children.

What’s one thing you can’t get through the workday without?

Black tea! I stay energized with Irish breakfast tea throughout the day, especially working from home now. It also keeps me warm on chilly days.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I cherish spending time with my young children and partner. We explore life’s simple joys together like baking cookies, reading at the library, and trying new things like playing video games as a family.

Media Contacts

Kyra Moeller
Communications Strategist

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