The Pew Charitable Trusts illuminates states’ fiscal challenges through research, including comprehensive 50-state assessments. In these assessments, we rate the states on their performance, highlighting effective approaches and creating pressure for reform. Our team uses its expertise to examine key trends in state finances—including revenues, expenditures, and borrowing. We also track and compare state budget policies, including budget stabilization funds and forecasting practices. Our goal is to provide data, analysis, and guidance to help state policymakers manage economic and revenue volatility, improve transparency, and increase fiscal health over the long term.
Research & AnalysisView All
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
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
The U.S. employment rate for adults of prime working age rose in 2016, yet remained clearly lower than in 2007, just before the Great Recession. Reflecting the national trend, the percentage of 25- to 54-year-olds with a job was clearly lower in 16 states. 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.