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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.

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Getty Images
Article

State Websites Offer Fiscal Data on Local Governments

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Article

Most states require local governments to submit financial data—typically on an annual basis—and at least 38 now present that local fiscal data on easily accessible online platforms to give the public easy access to important information on their cities, towns, and counties.

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beach
Article

Declines in Tourism Take Toll on Many States Revenues

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Article

Hawaii’s economy thrives on tourism and all the dollars spent at hotels, restaurants, and attractions throughout the state. So when the COVID-19 pandemic forced business closures and grounded air travel in March, the islands sustained a major economic blow.

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subsidyscope
Article

COVID-19 Prompts States To Tap Financial Reserves

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Article

The coronavirus pandemic reversed many states’ plans to infuse more money into their rainy day funds—which, at the start of fiscal year 2020, amounted nationally to the largest fiscal cushion in at least two decades.

State names
State names
Article

Tax Revenue Swings Complicate State Budgeting

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The coronavirus pandemic is causing sharp, unpredictable swings in tax collections, confounding state lawmakers’ efforts to balance budgets. Sudden fluctuations present challenges even under less extreme economic conditions—with some states experiencing far higher levels of tax revenue volatility than others, depending on their tax mix.

Our Work

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Data Visualization

Fiscal 50

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

Where States Get Their Money, FY 2018

Taxes and federal funds together account for 81% of revenue for the 50 states. Taxes are the largest revenue source in 44 states, while federal funds are greatest in six: Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. This infographic displays a breakdown of each state’s revenue by major categories.

Data Visualization

How States Raise Their Tax Dollars, FY 2019

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Data Visualization

Taxes make up about half of state government revenue, with two-thirds of states’ total tax dollars coming from levies on personal income and general sales of goods and services. This infographic illustrates the sources of each state’s tax revenue.