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Two Men Discussion Columns

A study to help state and local government leaders to better understand the degree to which their governments are fiscally dependent on the federal government.

2013 Intergovernmental Financial Dependency: An Annual Study of Key Dependency Measures for the 50 States

  • 3/15/2013

Over the past 50 years, state and local governments have come to rely on federal dollars to fund infrastructure, health care, social programs, education, research, and a host of other vital services. However, the continuation of these important federal flows is now at significant risk due to the federal government’s heavy reliance on deficit spending and the accumulation of publicly-held debt and unfunded obligations associated with providing federal pension, Social Security, and Medicare benefits.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Budget Office have each published objective and rigorous analyses asserting that the federal government is on a fiscally unsustainable course. In most cases, these assessments have been put forward for many years. The difference today is the federal government is no longer considered unsustainable only “in the long run.” It is clearly experiencing sustainability problems now.

For the second year, Edward J. Mazur, senior advisor for the public sector services, and Taylor R. Powell, federal government assurance senior associate, have gathered and analyzed extensive data that spotlight the key measures of intergovernmental financial dependency experienced by the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their findings are presented in the white paper, Intergovernmental Financial Dependency 2013: An Annual Study of Key Dependency Measures for the 50 States.

Awareness and action

Although public awareness of this fiscal dependency has heightened in the past year, there is still much work to do by state and local governments in assessing related risks, planning for changes in intergovernmental flows, and reporting to citizens and other stakeholders.

“We hope that the information in this study will help state and local government leaders to better understand the degree to which their governments are dependent on the federal government,” says Mazur. 

More resources


Edward J. Mazur, Senior Advisor for Public Sector Services
edward.mazur@cliftonlarsonallen.com or 804-270-2200

Taylor R. Powell, Federal Government Assurance Senior Associate
taylor.powell@cliftonlarsonallen.com or 571-227-9631