Annual Report of US States

To view all the Annual Reports, including the one on Pennsylvania completed by Fels, please click here.

As U.S. states approach fiscal crisis, a team of Penn students put together an Annual Reports of U.S. States (ARUSS), focusing on New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Just as a corporation produces an annual report for shareholders, we produced them for our citizens. Annual Reports are politically neutral, objective, fact-based resources to help legislators and their constituents understand the salient policy issues facing state governments today. By publishing these reports online and making them freely available to the public, the ARUSS team aims to inspire civic engagement in U.S. fiscal policy.

Specifically, the Annual Reports analyze the sustainability of state spending with respect to important fiscal issues, including health care, pensions, and education. Each state’s report contains balance sheets, income statements, and trend analysis on unemployment rates, federal spending, deficits, and surpluses. In addition, analytical explanations for how each state arrived at its current fiscal problems are included.

ARUSS is useful for civic participation in multiple ways. First, the final documents are comprehensive resources that provide rigorous analysis of state-level fiscal data. Second, the reports are accessible to a diverse audience, ranging from students in local Philadelphia schools to policymakers in Washington, D.C. Finally, the reports will be incorporated into an educational program that inspires civic engagement, so that citizens can substantively understand how the government spends their tax dollars.

The ARUSS team is multi-dimensional, comprised of undergraduate and graduate students who have backgrounds spanning economics, accounting, public policy, and graphic design. Under the leadership of Associate Consultant Joseph Semsar and Brent Levin, the ARUSS team has produced an accessible report that clearly explains the fiscal wellbeing of state governments. Our collaborative approach has enabled us to produce transparent research that tackles policy issues through thorough cross-disciplinary analysis.