State Fiscal Policy Toolkit

Data, analysis, and other resources to guide decision-making

State Fiscal Policy Toolkit

The Pew Charitable Trusts researches the fiscal challenges faced by states and examines the policy options available to address them. The resources listed below, which include comprehensive 50-state assessments, illuminate common concerns and creative solutions to help policymakers understand the issues and learn from one another’s experiences.

Construction site
Construction site
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Strategies for Managing State Debt

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

Fiscal Balance
Fiscal Balance
Article

Over Long Term, Revenue Falls Short of Expenses in 10 States

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Even as they dealt with two recessions, most states amassed sufficient revenue between fiscal years 2002 and 2015 to cover their expenses. But total revenue in 10 states fell short, jeopardizing their long-term fiscal flexibility and pushing off to future taxpayers some past costs for operating government and providing services.

Rainy Day Funds
Rainy Day Funds
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Rainy Day Funds and State Credit Ratings

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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.

State tax incentives
State tax incentives
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Improving Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth

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Tax incentives—including credits, exemptions, and deductions—are one of the primary tools that states use to try to create jobs, attract new businesses, and strengthen their economies. Incentives are also major budget commitments, collectively costing states billions of dollars a year. Given this importance, policymakers across the country increasingly are demanding high-quality information on the results of tax incentives.

Additional Resources

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Map
Data Visualization

Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis

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

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Data Visualization

Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis, an interactive resource from The Pew Charitable Trusts, allows you to sort and analyze data on key fiscal, economic, and demographic trends in the 50 states and understand their impact on states’ fiscal health.

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Results First
Evidence-Based Policymaking Made Easy by 'Results First' Tool
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Better Incentive
Better Incentive
Article

Economic Development Incentives: Best Practices

Resources to help states improve evaluation and oversight

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Economic development incentives play a central role in states’ efforts to create jobs and strengthen their economies. Pew’s research shows how states can ensure that incentives are effective and fiscally sound.