State & Local Finance Initiative

Tax & Budget Topics

Tax PolicyTax Policy - State and local taxes play important roles in assisting low- and moderate-income families, attracting business development, and stabilizing the negative effects of economic downturns.
BudgetingBudgeting - State and local governments spend money as differently as they raise money. How budgets are proposed, evaluated and passed can influence the debate about important goals and the administration of government services. This section examines the budget process and fiscal institutions.
debtDebt - Each state has a unique process for allocating capital and accumulating and financing debt. This section examines the mechanics and drivers of state debt.

InfrastructureInfrastructure - Today, the US faces major challenges in developing, maintaining, and financing physical infrastructure systems. Policy decisions about these choices will ripple across the economy and through the lives of families and business owners, with profound, long-term consequences for economic welfare, equity, environmental quality, and national security. The Urban Institute's rigorous empirical research can help shed new light on controversial policy choices.















State and local governments play a large role in our economy. Their activities make up about one-eighth of U.S. GDP, for example, financed by a combination of state and local revenues and federal transfers. Their finances are beginning to recover from the Great Recession, but it remains unclear whether existing tax systems are keeping up with changes in the economy. We examine trends in revenue sources and tax rates and evaluate how budget practices affect governments’ ability to respond to changing economic conditions.

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