Robert Zahradnik

Robert Zahradnik

  • Principal Officer
  • State Policy, State Fiscal Health and Economic Growth,
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts


Robert Zahradnik works on state fiscal health and economic growth. He leads initiatives that help states improve the return on investment from economic development tax incentives and better manage revenue projections and volatility.

Zahradnik oversees research on tax incentive evaluation and long-term budgeting practices, and directs technical assistance provided to state leaders including data analysis, policy development, and outreach to key stakeholders and the public. He has presented to state legislators and a wide range of professional and academic associations.

Before joining Pew in 2010, Zahradnik worked for the chief financial officer of the District of Columbia as a manager in the Office of Budget and Planning and then as director of research in the Office of Revenue Analysis. In the latter position, he managed a research agenda that covered tax, budget, and economic policies and practices. He was also a senior policy analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC.

Zahradnik holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Penn State University and a master’s of public administration from George Washington University.

Recent Work

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  • States’ Tax Revenue Volatility Poses Varying Budget Challenges

    Yearly swings in tax revenue can confound policymakers’ best efforts to balance state budgets. These fluctuations vary greatly across the 50 states. Over the past two decades, Alaska has faced by far the greatest volatility in total tax revenue, while South Dakota has experienced the least, not counting revenue swings caused by tax policy changes. Read More

  • Rainy Day Funds: Best Practices to Mitigate Revenue Volatility

    In a series of reports, The Pew Charitable Trusts has identified several best practices for building better rainy day funds. The reports emphasize that states should study how sensitive their tax systems are to economic volatility; identify concrete objectives and an appropriate savings target; link deposits to economic or revenue growth; and establish withdrawal conditions that encourage use... Read More

  • Rainy Day Funds and State Credit Ratings

    Research by Pew has found that even in states with the agencies’ highest rating (triple-A), policymakers often are unsure about how best to manage their rainy day funds to earn or keep high credit ratings. As a result, some state officials are reluctant to tap reserves even during recessions for fear of a ratings downgrade. Read More

Media Contact

Jeremy Ratner

Director, Communications