Author Archive

Liz Farmer

Liz Farmer is an officer with Pew's State Fiscal Health Project, focusing on budgets, fiscal distress, tax policy and pensions.
Finance

States take a more measured approach to ESG mandates

There's great recognition—on both sides of the issue—that strict pro- and anti-environmental, social and governance investing strategies can lead to unintended costs and administrative challenges.

Finance

States look to AI for its potential to help with finances

Artificial intelligence holds promise for creating budget-saving efficiencies, aiding in audits and helping with compliance. But the emerging technology also poses challenges that could affect spending.

Finance

Amid rising costs, states scramble to budget for natural disasters

The U.S. set a new record for billion-dollar climate disasters in 2023. State budgets are increasingly shouldering the costs of more frequent and expensive weather events.

Finance

States turn up the heat on ESG investing

At issue is whether mandates about environmental, social and governance investment strategies infringe upon a state fiduciary’s duty to maximize returns.

Finance

As pandemic aid winds down, states scramble to fill gaps

COVID-19 left a lasting mark on a few sectors, with schools, public transit and child care providers facing fiscal cliffs as federal funding dries up. State legislators, many already grappling with shortfalls, are looking for solutions.

Finance

Another large bank plans to exit the muni market

It’s the second big bank to drop its municipal bond business this year. But its decision, which many believe is the result of anti-ESG politics, could have a significant impact.

Finance

What a major income tax case before the Supreme Court means for states

During oral arguments this week, the court signaled it was wary of issuing an opinion that could upend the tax code.

Finance

Helping cities flip money pits into gold mines

An incubator is working with cities to capitalize on their under-used properties by helping them to think like real estate developers.

Finance

How California and Florida are trying to stave off the home insurance crisis

Historically, the two states have had very different approaches to insuring against natural disasters. That’s changing.

Finance

Is it time to stop worrying about pensions?

Public pension numbers are looking better than they have in over a decade. But some worry it may not last.

Finance

Do opportunity zones work?

The jury is still out. But recent research has provided new insights into the tax incentive meant to lure investment to distressed areas.

Finance

Why this shutdown could be even more significant for states and localities

Not all states, cities and counties are the same when it comes to shutdowns, but some places will feel it more acutely than others.

Finance

Should states and localities be worried about the U.S. downgrade?

Or about the possibility of another one amid the budget showdown in Congress? Fitch Ratings’ decision to knock the federal government’s credit rating down a notch last month doesn’t directly affect state and local credit quality. But it’s a warning shot.

Cybersecurity

As cyberattacks grow, cyber insurance is increasingly out of reach for many municipalities

Experts caution that governments need to recalibrate their cyber risk management approaches by emphasizing employee training and taking a whole-of-state approach.

Finance

An emerging ‘greenium’? New research says green bonds cost governments less

Amid an ESG backlash in some states, the finding could lead to more governments seeking an ESG-related label for bonds that will fund socially or environmentally sustainable projects.

Finance

After enacting strict abortion laws, many states are turning to tax breaks for expectant parents

Four states have approved new tax credits or deductions that allow taxpayers to claim unborn children. Nearly a dozen are expected to follow. But do these laws actually help expectant mothers?

Finance

State retirement plans close savings gap and pad bottom lines

Six years ago and millions of dollars since, Oregon launched the first state-sponsored retirement program for private sector workers. Today, 19 states have launched or plan to launch their own savings programs.

Finance

Boosting affordable housing by reclaiming investor-owned properties

As the affordable housing supply gets squeezed, some worry that private equity firms will scoop up more properties.

Finance

Five years after the Wayfair ruling, states' reliance on the sales tax grows

But while the sales tax has brought in billions of dollars for state and local governments, businesses find the patchwork of rules burdensome.

Finance

Minnesota Takes On Corporate Profit Shifting

The state targeted a loophole that companies use to create income tax havens abroad. As overall tax revenue continues to slump, will other states do the same?