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Congress can tie states’ receipt of federal funding to maintenance of rainy-day funds of at least 10 percent.

Through their fiscal policies, states play an increasing role in U.S. macroeconomic stability. Yet most have underfunded rainy day accounts. As a result, when national economic downturns hit, states raise taxes and cut spending, exacerbating recessions and slowing recovery. The federal government can put policies in place to ensure that state and federal budget policies are more harmonized. One way to do this is to tie the states' receipt of federal funds to their willingness to maintain much larger rainy day funds.