The 16 German states have developed very differently in the past. On the other hand, the German constitutional law demands the creation of equal living conditions in all states. Different economic and demographic developments have led to a very heterogenic fiscal landscape among the states. This effect is intensified by a new law which was introduced in 2011 and now defines certain upper limits for public debts. It demands a complete reduction of public debt by 2020. In the meantime the States still have to fulfill their public tasks and offer improved services. This study compares the fiscal point of departure of the German states and forecasts their financial margins to 2020.