Fiscal Federalism Initiative

Almost all changes to federal policy, from spending decisions to tax reform, affect state revenue, economies, and residents. The Pew Charitable Trusts examines the ways in which federal choices affect states.

Focus areas include:

  • Grants to states, which fund a wide range of programs and projects, such as Medicaid and transportation infrastructure.
  • Tax code connections, particularly how states with income taxes connect to the federal code and how federal tax expenditures are distributed among the states.
  • Federal spending in the states, ranging from defense expenditures to Pell Grants that provide need-based monetary support to higher education students.
American Flag in rubble
American Flag in rubble

How States Pay for Natural Disasters in an Era of Rising Costs

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Although catastrophes with large federal government responses capture the most public attention, state governments play an oft-overlooked role in paying for natural disasters. When the costs from natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and wildfires exceed a local government’s capacity to respond, states must be ready to step in with resources, personnel, and financial support for affected areas. And for larger disasters, states can request a presidential declaration, which makes federal funds available to supplement state and local resources.

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