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Project

State Fiscal Health

In an era of heightened economic uncertainty, state governments are facing unpredictable revenue as well as rising health care, education, and infrastructure costs. How policymakers choose to confront these challenges will affect states and the nation for years to come. Through both research and advocacy, Pew provides data, analysis, and guidance to help states navigate these fiscal challenges and identify potential policy approaches.

Our research—including 50-state assessments—examines key trends in state finances and evaluates states on their performance, underscoring effective approaches and creating an environment for potential reform. 

We collaborate with policy leaders in states in a variety of ways:

  • Research: We conduct comprehensive and policy-relevant research. Our findings give states evidence-based options to address their unique fiscal challenges.
  • Information sharing: We serve as a resource to policymakers making research-driven decisions to improve fiscal outcomes in their states. We lead webinars, events, and meetings and provide communications assistance to encourage state, regional, and national conversations on budget policies and practices.
  • Technical assistance and policy advocacy: We provide strategic technical assistance to states seeking to improve their budget practices. Our capabilities encompass policy design, including state comparative analysis; drafting or advising on legislation; offering testimony; and supplying other assistance, as requested.

Through these strategies, our goal is to help policymakers manage economic and revenue volatility, enhance transparency, and improve their states’ fiscal health over the long term.

Traveler with facemask
Traveler with facemask
Article

How States Can Plan for Budgetary Effects of Coronavirus—and Market Swings

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Article

How States Can Plan for Budgetary Effects of Coronavirus—and Market Swings

The coronavirus is already affecting state budgets, from pressure on public health systems to revenue losses from canceled events. Lawmakers in states such as California are passing emergency funding measures, while other officials—including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan—are looking at withdrawing money from rainy day funds to meet emergency needs.

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Empty airport lines
Article

Coronavirus Outbreak Reinforces Need for Long-Term State Budgeting

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Article

Coronavirus Outbreak Reinforces Need for Long-Term State Budgeting

The coronavirus outbreak, recent market swings, and the drop in oil prices have introduced a high level of uncertainty into state budget development in recent weeks. Policymakers are scrambling to assess the potential risk and the available options for addressing it.

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street
Article

When Will the Impact of Coronavirus Hit State Budgets?

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Article

State officials nationwide fear that a substantial decline in tax collections as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will throw their budgets into turmoil. But they will have to wait for the first hard data on how big the decline might be.

Article

States’ Financial Reserves Hit Record Highs

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Article

States’ Financial Reserves Hit Record Highs

A decade after the Great Recession, states collectively have amassed their largest fiscal cushion in at least two decades. As most states closed out their 2019 budget year, a surge in tax collections drove the total held in savings and leftover budget dollars to a record high.

Our Work

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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.

Data Visualization

Where States Get Their Money, FY 2018

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Data Visualization

Taxes and federal funds together account for 80.3 percent of revenue for the 50 states. Taxes are the largest revenue source in 43 states, while federal funds are greatest in seven: Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

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Data Visualization

How States Raise Their Tax Dollars, FY 2018

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Taxes make up about half of state government revenue, with the bulk coming from levies on personal income and general sales of goods and services.