Expert Profile

Susan K. Urahn

Executive Vice President
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Susan Urahn, executive vice president of The Pew Charitable Trusts, leads efforts to help policymakers identify and implement pragmatic, data-driven solutions to our nation’s toughest challenges. She directs Pew’s nonpartisan research, technical assistance, and advocacy to promote effective and fiscally sound government, enhance family economic security, and prevent unnecessary health risks. This work is resulting in local, state, and federal policy changes that improve Americans’ lives and provide a strong return on their tax dollars.

Urahn has testified before the U.S. Congress and in multiple state houses, and has been a featured speaker to groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures, Public Policy Institute of California, and Business Roundtable.

She writes a regular column for Governing and has appeared on PBS, CNN, Bloomberg News, and NPR. Newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, and Washington Post have quoted her.
Urahn joined Pew in 1994 after more than a decade of experience in policy research and evaluation with the Minnesota House of Representatives and at the University of Minnesota.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in education policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.

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Reports & Publications

May 20, 2010

Leadership Matters: Governors’ Pre-K Proposals Fiscal Year 2011

The 2010 Leadership Matters report finds that state-funded high-quality pre-k remains largely dependent on where children live, with gubernatorial proposals ranging widely from significant expansion in Alabama to elimination in Arizona.

May 4, 2010

The Case for Home Visiting

Voluntary home visiting programs match parents with trained professionals to provide information and assistance during pregnancy and throughout their child’s first three years. This support not only helps families thrive, but saves states money on costly social problems. The home visiting brief outlines the important benefits of these programs.

March 9, 2010

A Matter of Degrees: Preparing Teachers for the Pre-K Classroom

To maximize the benefits of pre-kindergarten investments, states need to create policies that define and support teacher quality, according to "A Matter of Degrees: Preparing Teachers for the Pre-K Classroom" a report released by Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States. The report reviews research on training for pre-k teachers and concludes that educators with at least a bachelor’s degree coupled with specialized training in early childhood are best able to foster development of the cognitive, social and emotional skills children need to be ready for kindergarten.

February 23, 2010

The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children

States play a key role in ensuring that low-income children have access to basic, preventive dental care. A new report, The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children, finds that two-thirds of states are doing a poor job.

February 18, 2010

The Trillion Dollar Gap

 A new report from the Pew Center on the States shows why states must take strong action now to pay for employees’ retirement benefits or taxpayers will suffer later.

February 11, 2010

The State of the States 2010

In State of the States 2010, the Pew Center on the States takes a nonpartisan, analytical look at forces already at work with the potential to reshape state government in lasting ways.

November 11, 2009

Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril

California’s problems are in a league of their own. But the same pressures that drove it toward fiscal disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country.

More Reports & Publications

News Room

July 7, 2011

Higher Taxes Yield to Budget Cuts in States

Susan Urahn of the Pew Center on the States is quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about state lawmakers general avoidance of raising taxes in favor of budget cuts.

July 7, 2011

State of Disagreement: Divisions Grow in Minnesota Budget Battle

Susan Urahn, managing director for the Pew Center on the States, was interviewed by PBS Newshour's Judy Woodruff about the Minnesota government shutdown.

 

June 28, 2011

Hawai'i to Initiate Justice Reinvestment in Public Safety

In an effort to improve Hawai'i’s prisons and criminal justice system, Governor Neil Abercrombie announces a collaborative effort called “justice reinvestment” to reduce the number of prisoners being sent out of state, lower recidivism and prevent crime. The initiative is a partnership between the state, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the Pew Center on the States and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

August 17, 2010

States Can No Longer Dodge the Budget Axe

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, wrote an op-ed that appears in the Wall Street Journal about the hard budget choices that have been made by state governments, and the even harder choices that are yet to be made.

May 20, 2010

In Arizona’s Latest Twist, Voters Follow G.O.P. Governor and Approve Tax Increase

An article in The New York Times about recent tax increases in Arizona quotes Pew Center on the States managing director Susan Urahn.

April 19, 2010

U.S. States Face ‘Staggered’ Recovery, Pew Center’s Urahn Says

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, was quoted in an article from BusinessWeek about the difficult economic recovery that the states face.

March 15, 2010

Unneeded Prison in Nevada Eludes Budget Ax

An article on the conflict between state budget cuts and local interests quotes Susan Urahn, Managing Director of the Pew Center on the States.

March 15, 2010

Montgomery, Md., Pension Deal Eases Sacrifice for Unions

An article from the Washington Post on pension benefits in Maryland quotes Susan Urahn, Managing Director of Pew Center on the States.

February 18, 2010

Pew Study Finds States Face $1 Trillion Shortfall in Retiree Benefits

There was a $1 trillion gap at the end of fiscal year 2008 between the $2.35 trillion states had set aside to pay for employees’ retirement benefits and the $3.35 trillion price tag of those promises, according to a new report released today by the Pew Center on the States.

January 13, 2010

State Budgets Collapsing Under Poor Economy

Susan Urahn, Managing Director of the Pew Center on the States, appeared on "PBS Newshour" to discuss the difficulties that many states are having in closing their budget gaps.

November 13, 2009

Susan Urahn on C-SPAN's Washington Journal

Susan Urahn talked about a new report by the Pew Center on the States about the fiscal condition of states.

November 11, 2009

Susan Urahn on National Public Radio

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, discussed the center's latest report on National Public Radio.

November 11, 2009

Report: 10 States Face Looming Budget Disasters

An AP article on the Pew Center on the States' new report, which identifies nine states that are facing fiscal challenges similar to California's.

November 11, 2009

Susan Urahn on National Public Radio

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, spoke with National Public Radio about the budget crisis facing a number of state governments.

November 11, 2009

States' Budget Woes Threaten Broad Economic Recovery

A segment from NewsHour on the fiscal crisis facing a number of states.

November 11, 2009

Nine States Suffer Californian Fiscal Disease

A Financial Times article on states' financial troubles, which are examined in a new report from the Pew Center on the States.

November 11, 2009

Pew Identifies States, Like California, in Fiscal Peril

A report by the Pew Center on the States shows that some of the same pressures that have pushed California toward economic disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of other states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country.

October 7, 2009

Fund Early Childhood Education

Investing public money in high-quality pre-kindergarten education is an opportunity our country cannot afford to pass up.

More from the News Room

Events & Appearances

October 26, 2009

Perspectives: Beyond California - States in Fiscal Peril

Washington, DC

California's problems are in a league of their own. But the same pressures that pushed it toward fiscal disaster are wreaking havoc in state capitals around the country, more acutely in some than in others.

September 4, 2009

Covering the Budget Beat

Washington, DC

This forum for statehouse journalists will feature a series of in-depth sessions that will describe states’ current and long-term fiscal pressures, examine the effect of the stimulus on the states and detail national and regional economic trends.

More Events & Appearances

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