Fiscal Innovations

State leaders face many challenges in their quest to develop sound fiscal policy. They face increasing uncertainty from national and global leaders, a rapidly changing economic landscape, and conflicting and often biased information. The Fiscal Innovations project aims to help states navigate those challenges.

Project Description

Fiscal Innovations is a project of the Tax Policy Center, the Urban Institute, and Urban's State and Local Finance Initiative. The project will deliver coordinated technical assistance to a select group of states, starting with five states and potentially expanding to more. The project’s goal is to strengthen state leaders' decision-making in matters of budgeting, finance, and forecasting.

Participating states will receive consultation from tax and finance experts, the opportunity to engage in peer-learning activities with other participating states, a review and assessment of financial and budget systems, and customized insights from the Tax Policy Center’s and the Urban Institute’s modeling capabilities.

There is no cost to participants. This project is funded by the generous support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. 

Eligible Government Entities

The opportunity to participate in Fiscal Innovations is available to state and local government agencies in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and any US territory. Examples of applicants include:

  • State legislative offices (e.g., Senate president or House speaker)
  • Executive branch state budget offices
  • Legislative central staff divisions
  • Governor’s office
  • State treasurer’s offices

Technical Assistance Examples

Fiscal Innovations offers the following technical assistance to state and local governments:

  • Analysis of fiscal obligations and their impact on state finances
  • Resources and analytical tools for tax reform initiatives that state governments may be contemplating
  • Advice about how to make a tax system more efficient, equitable, and responsive to economic and demographic change
  • Forecasts and investigation of the intended and unintended consequences of various tax and fiscal policies
  • Modeling of distributional impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act using state-specific data
  • Insight into looming fiscal and economic trends and how those will affect taxes and expenditures
  • Comparative analysis of your state’s budget safeguards or economic incentives and their performance
  • Technical consultation on forecast or revenue modeling approaches

To Apply

Interested applicants should submit a non-binding letter of intent no later than February 1, 2019. The letter should be submitted by the lead representative from one of the eligible entities listed above. The letter should include the following:

  1. Brief statement of interest,
  2. Listing of any potential partner agencies or offices, and
  3. Broad statement of a technical assistance issue or interest area that would be the project's focus.

Applications should be no more than five pages.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Letters of intent are due by February 15, 2019. We anticipate selecting participants by March 31, 2019. The project is scheduled to run from March 30, 2019 through September 30, 2020. All technical assistance activities will be scheduled with each participant government entity according to its needs and constraints.

Participant Screening and Selection

All applications will be reviewed for completeness and eligibility. Every eligible entity that submits a complete application and meets the eligibility criteria will be placed into a pool of eligible applicants, from which five will be selected for participation. Applicants will not receive scoring results. Final decisions will be made based on a range of criteria, including geographic dispersion of the final pool, issue complexity, generalizability of the issue to other government entities, resources and time required, the number of partners participating, and an estimation of the applicant's commitment.

The ultimate selection of participants will be at the discretion of the Tax Policy Center and the State and Local Finance Initiative. We reserve the right to request additional information from applicants to assess their submissions.

Contacts

Direct all correspondence and question to the State and Local Finance Initiative's director of state and local fiscal engagement:

Donnie Charleston
(202) 261-5373
dcharleston@urban.org