States' Fiscal Health

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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 & Analysis

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  • 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

  • Tax Revenue Has Recovered in 31 States, Despite Flat Q3

    Growth in total state tax revenue stalled in the third quarter of 2016, extending a rare drop in tax collections outside of a recession. Even so, more than seven years after the end of the Great Recession, receipts nationally and in 31 states have risen enough to recover from losses in the downturn, after accounting for inflation. Read More

  • Growth in State Personal Income Slows in 2016

    One of the longest U.S. economic expansions has lifted personal income in all states above pre-recession levels. But growth has varied, ranging from a constant annual rate of 0.8 percent in Illinois and Nevada to 4.5 percent in North Dakota. In the fourth quarter of 2016, year-over-year personal income growth weakened to the slowest pace in three years, due partly to ongoing weakness in energy... 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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Media Contact

Sarah Leiseca

Officer, Communications