June 27 2013

Is Your State a Federal Dependent?

Vicki E. Alger

It’s pretty pitiful that states are now so dependent on federal aid—funds, which after all, are taken from taxpayers, and returned back to their states with all sorts of federal strings attached. The Tax Foundation reports:

Mississippi relies more heavily on federal assistance than other states, with 49% of its total general revenue coming from federal aid. Close behind are Louisiana at 46.5% and Arizona at 45.7%. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska relies on federal aid for only 24% of its general revenue, followed closely by Delaware at 25.9% and North Dakota at 26%. 

Wow. Let’s see how much those percentages are worth. Using the latest data from the Census Bureau (the same data the Tax  Foundation uses), the amounts below are what we’re sending to other states through the feds:

  • Mississippi: $8.7 billion
  • Louisiana: $12.5 billion
  • Arizona: $12.4 billion
  • Alaska: $3.0 billion
  • Delaware: $1.9 billion
  • North Dakota: $1.7 billion

The feds redirected nearly $600 billion altogether to the states. Divided among the roughly 240 million American taxpayers 18 years and older, that amount works out to roughly $2,500 per person.

I’d just as soon keep that cash in hand and part with it only if my elected state officials convinced me it would go toward something worthwhile. Admittedly, that’d be a tough sell—and that’s why so many politicians generally prefer redistribution to taxation with representation.

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