State Fiscal Policy Toolkit

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

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.

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Overpass construction
Article

Public Infrastructure Investment Challenges Persist

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Article

State and local governments across the United States spend roughly half a trillion dollars annually on transportation and water infrastructure, with about one-quarter paid for through grants from the federal government. This spending includes investments in new projects as well as general upkeep and operating costs for roads, bridges, and public transit systems, as well as the development and maintenance of state and locally managed water resources.

Top Pensions Detail Priorities, Planning Behind Success in Q&A Series
Top Pensions Detail Priorities, Planning Behind Success in Q&A Series

Managers of 3 Top Pension Plans Share Priorities

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For 20 years, the state pension systems in South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin have achieved high funding rates and predictable costs. But they came to their success for different reasons, using a range of plan designs and pursuing various priorities.

Stacks of coins
Stacks of coins
Article

How Much Should States Save for Economic Ups and Downs?

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Article

As more states set aside reserves during good economic times for unanticipated needs, there is no single approach for how best to cap, or set the maximum allowable size, of a rainy day fund. Still, it is always critical that the process be data-driven. To accomplish this, policymakers can use budget stress tests to inform how much money they should have on hand to weather economic shocks and budget shortfalls.

Article

State Tax Revenue Approaches Possible Inflection Point

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Article

From January 2020 through the end of most states’ 2022 budget year, tax revenue outperformed its pre-pandemic growth trajectory in a record 32 states. Still, annual revenue growth rates slowed substantially during fiscal year 2022 and are on track for negative growth by the end of the current budget year amid looming economic uncertainties.

Additional Resources

Data Visualization

Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis

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Data Visualization

Fiscal 50 is an interactive platform that provides clear, data-driven portraits of state fiscal conditions. Users can view, sort, and analyze data on key trends that shape states’ fiscal health now and over the long term. Fiscal 50 also features research and analysis to help users understand how these trends interact and fit together—and how they relate to real-time developments playing out in state capitols across the country.

Evidence-based policymaking
Evidence-based policymaking

Evidence-Based Policymaking Resource Center

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Evidence-Based Policymaking Resource Center

In 2014, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative developed a framework for state and county leaders interested in evidence-based policymaking. This framework consists of five key components to help governments use rigorous evidence and data to guide policy and funding decisions.

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VIDEO: What is Budget Stress Testing?

Spotlight on Mental Health

Fiscal Federalism Initiative
Fiscal Federalism Initiative
Archived Project

Fiscal Federalism Initiative

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Archived Project

The fiscal challenges facing all levels of government are focusing attention on the federal-state relationship and leading to discussions about how costs should be allocated among local, state, and the federal governments. Pew provides policymakers original, nonpartisan research and analysis so they can understand how their tax and spending policies affect other levels of government.

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Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

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How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

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Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.