States' Fiscal Health

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States are managing through a slow and uneven economic recovery and many have not yet returned to pre-recession revenue levels. Rising health care, education, and infrastructure costs are placing pressures on annual budgets. The ways in which policymakers confront these challenges will affect states and the nation for years to come. Pew's work on states' fiscal health provides data, analysis, and guidance to help states navigate their fiscal challenges and identify and understand potential policy approaches. We examine key trends in state economies and budgets, and research and advance promising approaches to managing volatile state finances in an era of heightened uncertainty.

Our Work

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  • North Carolina Enacts Comprehensive Savings Reform

    Most states struggle with decisions on when to save, when to use those savings, and how much to save in order to have a cushion against the impact of a revenue downturn. That’s because while 47 states have rainy day funds—reserve accounts to stabilize their budgets during difficult times—many lack policies that encourage savings when revenue growth is high and establish clear... Read More

  • Pew: States Should Establish Clear Withdrawal Rules for Rainy Day Funds

    Many states struggle with when and how to make withdrawals from their rainy day funds, a situation that can lead to poorly timed use of these reserve accounts, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Read More

  • When to Use State Rainy Day Funds

    When the Great Recession hit in 2008, it put enormous pressure on state budgets. Tax revenue dropped precipitously and mandatory costs—particularly for health and human services—rose. Delaware, for example, entered fiscal year 2010 facing a $750 million budget shortfall because of declining revenue from personal and corporate income taxes. Read More

Explore Fiscal 50 Interactive

Sort and chart data about key fiscal and economic trends in the 50 states, and read Pew's insights.

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How States Raise Their Tax Dollars

Mix of Tax Sources by State, FY 2015

Taxes are the largest source of state government funding, making up almost half of combined state revenue.

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Media Contact

Sarah Leiseca

Officer, Communications