State Fiscal Briefs

State budgets are more than numbers. They reflect priorities, challenges, and history. These summaries of each state’s finances, politics, economics, and demographics can help you prepare for policy debates.

August 2021

National recessions and federal tax and spending changes can affect budgets in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And big policy questions, such as whether to increase teacher salaries or expand health care access, can pop up in many states at the same time. 

But each state faces unique economic, political, cultural, and historical pressures that affect how fiscal issues emerge and how problems are resolved.

That’s why the State and Local Finance Initiative put together these 51 briefs. Select a state from the map below to learn more about the dynamics that influence major policy issues in each state.


Each brief explores

  • expenditure and revenue data;
  • political control of the state government;
  • ongoing fiscal debates (e.g., tax cuts, Medicaid expansion, and pension reform);
  • the most recent state budget;
  • trends in personal income, poverty, unemployment, and industry composition; and
  • data on population, race, age, and education.