Stephen C. Fehr

Stephen C. Fehr

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


Stephen Fehr is a senior officer with Pew's state and local fiscal health initiative, which researches state budget issues and provides policy guidance to help policymakers manage finances through the turns in the economy.

As a lead researcher on the project, Fehr oversees a wide-ranging portfolio that includes state intervention efforts in distressed local governments, state revenue systems, rainy day funds, borrowing, public pensions, and state tax policy. He is a frequent speaker to professional and academic associations and contributes to Stateline, the daily news service of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Fehr, who joined Pew in 2008, draws from 33 years’ experience as a reporter and editor at the Washington Post and the Kansas City Star. During those years, he covered every level of government, from city councils and school boards to state legislatures, governors, Congress, and the White House.

Fehr holds a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Recent Work

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  • How States Can Make the Most of Their Rainy Day Funds

    To minimize the need for uncomfortable choices between raising taxes or cutting spending, 48 states have created budget stabilization funds—rainy day funds—that take advantage of boom times by directing surplus revenue into savings that can offset future shortfalls. However, many of these funds lack rules to effectively smooth the ups and downs in revenue. Designing a robust fund, and... 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

  • Strategies for Managing State Debt

    As state budgets recover from the effects of the Great Recession of 2007-09, lawmakers are looking forways to prepare for the next downturn. At the same time, states are increasingly interested in taking advantageof low interest rates to borrow money for key infrastructure projects that may have been put on hold duringthe recession Read More