2015’s States Most & Least Dependent on the Federal Government

by John S Kiernan

WalletHub States Most and Least Dependent on Federal GovernmentThe extent to which the average American’s tax burden varies based on his or her state of residence represents a significant point of differentiation between state economies. But it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

What if, for example, a particular state can afford not to tax its residents at high rates because it receives disproportionately more funding from the federal government than states with apparently oppressive tax codes? That would change the narrative significantly, revealing federal dependence where bold, efficient stewardship was once thought to preside.

The idea of the American freeloader burst into the public consciousness when #47percent started trending on Twitter. And while the notion is senselessly insulting to millions of hardworking Americans, it is true that some states receive a far higher return on their federal income tax contributions than others.

Just how pronounced is this disparity, and to what extent does it alter our perception of state and local tax rates around the country? WalletHub sought to answer those questions by comparing the 50 states in terms of four key metrics. Our findings, as well as expert commentary and a detailed methodology, can be found below.

Main Findings

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Rank(1 = least dependent) State Name Return on Taxpayer Investment(Category Rank) Federal Funding as % of State Revenue (Category Rank) Federal Employees per 1,000 Residents (Category Rank) Number of Civilian Non-Defense Federal Employees per 1,000 Residents (Category Rank)
1 New Jersey $0.48
(4)
26.87%
(10)
3.82
(5)
1.78
(2)
2 Delaware $0.31
(1)
25.61%
(7)
7.68
(17)
1.94
(3)
3 Illinois $0.45
(3)
26.41%
(8)
5.50
(14)
2.72
(11)
4 Minnesota $0.54
(7)
26.88%
(11)
3.53
(4)
2.95
(16)
5 Kansas $0.54
(6)
25.22%
(6)
14.60
(37)
3.42
(25)
6 California $0.68
(13)
26.44%
(9)
8.86
(24)
2.79
(12)
7 Connecticut $1.04
(30)
23.43%
(4)
4.42
(8)
1.75
(1)
8 Massachusetts $0.74
(16)
29.68%
(17)
4.90
(11)
3.35
(22)
9 Nebraska $0.41
(2)
32.71%
(24)
9.17
(26)
3.56
(26)
10 Ohio $0.51
(5)
34.64%
(34)
5.13
(12)
2.31
(6)
11 New Hampshire $0.81
(21)
30.71%
(20)
4.41
(7)
2.83
(14)
12 Iowa $0.85
(24)
32.33%
(22)
3.04
(2)
2.46
(10)
13 Arkansas $0.62
(10)
33.07%
(25)
6.81
(16)
3.59
(27)
14 Colorado $0.64
(11)
28.14%
(14)
14.89
(38)
5.37
(40)
15 Utah $0.66
(12)
29.06%
(16)
11.66
(33)
5.26
(39)
T-16 Michigan $0.89
(27)
33.14%
(26)
3.26
(3)
2.05
(4)
T-16 Nevada $0.86
(25)
27.01%
(12)
8.66
(22)
3.64
(30)
18 Wisconsin $1.79
(41)
28.59%
(15)
2.96
(1)
2.36
(7)
19 Washington $0.75
(17)
28.12%
(13)
17.56
(44)
4.01
(31)
20 New York $0.58
(9)
43.39%
(49)
4.69
(9)
2.86
(15)
21 Rhode Island $0.75
(18)
34.18%
(31)
10.33
(30)
2.80
(13)
T-22 Alaska $0.96
(28)
22.43%
(3)
48.29
(49)
9.87
(49)
T-22 Pennsylvania $1.41
(37)
30.70%
(19)
5.44
(13)
3.32
(21)
24 Texas $0.79
(19)
33.28%
(29)
10.33
(29)
3.61
(29)
25 Virginia $1.27
(34)
24.21%
(5)
34.02
(48)
6.63
(41)
26 Hawaii $1.46
(38)
21.54%
(2)
54.37
(50)
4.46
(35)
27 Oregon $0.85
(23)
35.05%
(36)
5.53
(15)
4.41
(34)
28 Oklahoma $0.72
(15)
34.42%
(32)
15.92
(42)
4.11
(32)
29 Indiana $1.81
(42)
33.64%
(30)
3.90
(6)
2.13
(5)
30 North Carolina $0.88
(26)
33.15%
(27)
16.39
(43)
2.37
(8)
31 Vermont $1.06
(31)
33.22%
(28)
7.83
(19)
6.79
(43)
32 Florida $2.02
(44)
31.96%
(21)
8.05
(20)
3.12
(18)
T-33 Idaho $1.17
(32)
34.62%
(33)
7.80
(18)
4.53
(36)
T-33 Maryland $1.02
(29)
29.69%
(18)
27.87
(47)
15.19
(50)
35 North Dakota $3.83
(49)
19.51%
(1)
19.45
(46)
6.68
(42)
36 Wyoming $0.55
(8)
39.11%
(44)
15.68
(41)
8.18
(45)
37 Georgia $0.69
(14)
38.08%
(43)
15.26
(39)
4.32
(33)
38 Missouri $0.83
(22)
39.37%
(45)
9.30
(27)
5.12
(38)
39 Tennessee $1.30
(35)
39.78%
(46)
4.78
(10)
3.37
(23)
40 South Carolina $5.38
(50)
32.50%
(23)
12.74
(34)
2.42
(9)
41 Maine $1.58
(40)
35.42%
(38)
8.73
(23)
3.04
(17)
42 South Dakota $0.80
(20)
39.78%
(47)
14.42
(36)
8.69
(46)
43 Louisiana $1.37
(36)
42.21%
(48)
8.40
(21)
3.15
(19)
44 Arizona $1.47
(39)
36.26%
(39)
9.34
(28)
4.95
(37)
45 West Virginia $1.91
(43)
34.91%
(35)
8.91
(25)
7.66
(44)
46 Montana $1.24
(33)
37.49%
(41)
13.51
(35)
8.74
(47)
47 Alabama $2.46
(48)
36.64%
(40)
10.36
(31)
3.19
(20)
48 Kentucky $2.18
(45)
35.26%
(37)
15.38
(40)
3.61
(28)
49 Mississippi $2.34
(47)
43.68%
(50)
10.61
(32)
3.41
(24)
50 New Mexico $2.19
(46)
37.89%
(42)
18.50
(45)
9.03
(48)

 

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Red vs. Blue States

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Correlation Analysis

 

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Ask The Experts: Making Sense of Funding Disparities

For further clarity on the problems contributing to funding disparities, we consulted a panel of experts in the fields of economics and public policy for their insight and advice for possible solutions. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:

  1. What makes states more or less dependent on federal dollars? Is this good or bad?
  2. What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?
  3. What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?
< >
  • Erik M. Jensen Coleman P. Burke Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University
  • Ernie Goss MacAllister Chair & Professor of Economics at Creighton University, Heider College of Business
  • Thomas B. Cooke Distinguished Teaching Professor, Robert E. McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
  • Barry Rabe J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Environmental Policy, and Director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
  • David C. Parsley E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Economics and Finance, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
  • James Feigenbaum Associate Professor of Economics, Utah State University
  • Scott McConnell Assistant Professor of Economics, Eastern Oregon University
  • Santanu Chatterjee Director of the Full-Time MBA Program & Associate Professor of Economics, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia

Erik M. Jensen

Coleman P. Burke Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University
Erik M. Jensen
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

Dependence (and claimed dependence) can take many forms, and the form may help determine what the appropriate federal response should be. For example, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for the people in an area devastated by a natural disaster, and, in such a case, I would expect the feds to supplement the relief efforts of state and municipal governments. That’s a form of state and local dependence, I suppose, but it’s also folks helping their fellow citizens, after an event that was no one’s fault, to get the devastated area back on its feet. That’s an easy case for federal help. Of course, even in an easy case like that, everyone needs to realize that federal dollars don’t drop from the sky. Yes, some of the federal dollars are being redistributed to the devastated state, but others are just being recirculated within the state. And while all of the money might seem free to the recipients, it didn’t seem free to the taxpayers who funded the redistribution.

It’s unquestionably the case that states have come to consider themselves “dependent” on federal support for many things, and the feeling of entitlement is often unjustified. For example, states feel dependent on the continuation of large federal installations (like military bases) that have existed for decades. Yes, the local economy may crash if such a facility closes or downsizes — in that respect, the state is “dependent” on the federal dollars — but it just can’t be national policy to preserve all federal installations, in their present forms, in perpetuity. The dollars to keep Fort Hood going are real costs.

The pervasive assumption that, when federal dollars are involved, someone else will pay doesn’t result in good public policy. Suppose your city is thinking about putting in a new rapid transit line or rebuilding a decaying one. If the feds will support that sort of thing, it certainly makes sense to ask for the apparently free money. (Your members of Congress will help your city feed at the federal trough.) The availability of federal money may make an otherwise uneconomical investment seem economical, but should taxpayers in Mississippi, say, really have to support infrastructure building or rebuilding elsewhere when everyone’s infrastructure needs work? And what does “rebuilding” mean? A reborn Detroit would be wonderful, but, if that happens, the reborn city is likely to be much smaller than it used to be. Spend federal money trying to rebuild the Detroit of 1950, and you’ll wind up with a lot of roads, bridges, and waterlines to nowhere.

What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?

One’s political views necessarily color responses to a question like this. In my view, it’s generally a good idea for states and localities to fund programs directed at their own problems. The federal government should be most engaged in activities that were always assumed to be responsibilities of that government — defense, furthering commerce that crosses state and national boundaries, and so on. We may well decide that the feds should do more than that, but that decision should be the result of reasoned discussion, not based on the absurd assumption that the federal government’s resources are infinite and free.

What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

I don’t think anything can be done to “ensure” a fair redistribution of federal resources. Life is imperfect. To begin with, we will never have agreement on what such a redistribution would look like. (If we could have general agreement, you probably wouldn’t be asking this question.) And any redistribution is inevitably going to be affected by political processes — for example, smaller, poorer states have the same number of senators as richer, more populous ones, and that will increase the political clout of the smaller states in a way that some would consider unfair.

One hopes that our elected representatives will act in good faith, in an informed, public-spirited way. Working to make that happen may be the only protection we have against blatant unfairness. When things go wrong, as they inevitably will, we can get involved politically, criticize, and maybe affect some changes. But this is an iterative, not a transformative, process, and we need to be realistic in our expectations.

Of course, if things go horribly wrong, we can work to throw the bums out.

Ernie Goss

MacAllister Chair & Professor of Economics at Creighton University, Heider College of Business
Ernie Goss
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

Four factors contribute to a state’s dependence on federal dollars. First, the number of families and individuals that qualify to receive federal transfer payments. These include social security (Florida), SNAP funding (Michigan), and Medicaid payments (Mississippi). Second, a high concentration of military establishments (California) encourages state dependence on the federal government. Third, universities and other research establishments that are heavily funded by federal tax dollars (Massachusetts) encourage the addiction to federal spending. Fourth, states with a significant number of businesses and farms that are the beneficiaries of federal subsidies (solar energy-California) and federal mandates (ethanol-Iowa) benefit from an omnipotent and growing federal government.

Is it a good or bad thing? As long as the federal wallet is open, it is a good thing in the short run for recipient states. Unfortunately in many cases, it is a “zero sum game.” That is the winning states are matched by losing states (plus an overhead charge for DC benefactors). Additionally, it is a “bad” thing in the sense that it breeds dependence on federal spending at the expense of the private sector. Furthermore, federal spending is fairly volatile — it can giveth and it can taketh away. Thus a state becomes subject to the Weems of Washington. Instead of mining ore and oil, organizations in a state mine the federal coffers. This is certainly contrary to Jeffersonian democracy -- an economy that only Alexander Hamilton would love.

What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?

This is currently a “huge” constitutional argument between groups such as those typified by Cruz supporters and the Obama devotees. Cruz would argue that as stated in the tenth amendment of the constitution, “the powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” This would provide ammunition for those opposed to an expansion of the powers of the federal government. The strict constitutionalists would contend that the federal government is responsible for providing national defense, regulating interstate commerce, maintaining a stable national currency, and for declaring war. All other powers reside with the state.

What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

The number one factor contributing to a more equitable distribution of federal largesse would be the provision of transparency. “Under the table subsidies,” for example, simply reward the current power structure. Whether it is the “green” lobby under the Obama administration, or the “defense” lobby under the Bush administration, recipients should be more clearly identified. Ultimately, voters must be better educated about the use of the nation’s resources and their proper and effective distribution. An ill-educated and/or uninformed voter can never be expected to sort out what is best for the nation’s economy.

Thomas B. Cooke

Distinguished Teaching Professor, Robert E. McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
Thomas B. Cooke
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

States are limited on how they can collect revenue. Most states rely on corporate and individual income taxes. Property taxes also serve as an important funding mechanism. Sales taxes are a vital source of revenue.

A handful of states do not have a state individual income tax but generally impose higher property taxes to make up for missing revenue.

Over time, some states become more dependent on receiving federal dollars.

Unfortunately, what happens is that some states receive federal funds expecting that the flow of funds will continue indefinitely. They establish or expand programs without reasonable consideration of what can happen if the federal funds decrease or cease. This is a very risky way to conduct business and there can be dire consequences.

SSome states are forced by state constitutions to balance their annual budgets. In general, I believe this is a very good idea. If you don’t take reasonable steps to tie the hands of elected officials, they all too often will find ways to spend, spend and spend again.

Most states do not have such constraints and run regular deficits. This is never a good thing and you can see how such states would be more dependent on outside (federal) funding.

While in an ideal world it would be a good thing if states could be independent of the federal government, there are certainly state needs that the federal government should assume some responsibility for. This needs to be a coordinated effort and not one than can produce instant gratification, but dire consequences down the road.

What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?

There needs to be a dividing line between what is obviously a state obligation, a federal obligation or a combination of the two.

One example that immediately comes to mind is transportation and infrastructure needs. Here, there is clearly a federal role. The federal government collects a federal fuel tax and, along with that, assumes an important role in our roads, bridges, airports, etc. The U.S. Highway Federal Trust Fund plays a very important role and one that the states benefit from.

Airport security is another area worthy of federal attention and support. Airport security needs to be a coordinated effort between the federal and state governments. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a rapidly expanding entity that requires serious federal funding. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assumes significant responsibility for air safety.

Education needs to be a shared enterprise. States need additional support for educating our children. This needs to be a shared experience. Congress took a very important step in enacting the 529 College Savings Plans. Here, Congress passed a law that allows the states to implement on their own. College Savings Plans and Pre-Paid Tuition Plans have become very popular among the states.

The area of health care is one in which the states and federal government can play a joint role. The federal government has the financial resources to support organizations such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) to serve a very important role.

There are a number of federal agencies (Center for Disease Control - CDC, Federal Emergency Management Agency - FEMA) that serve a critical role in working with state agencies to protect its citizens.

The Affordable Care Act (ACT) establishes a shared responsibility between the federal government, state governments, employers and employees. The ACA is in the early stages in its implementation. Important aspects (subsidies) of the ACA will be considered by the US Supreme Court this spring.

The list can go on and on. The bottom line is that the states do and should rely on federal support in any number of ways. The real challenge is to balance the needs of the states with an appropriate amount of support from above (the federal government).

What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

Here we have the $64,000 question. “Fairness” is like beauty… It is in the eyes of the party paying, as well as in the eyes of the party receiving federal funds.

All too often, the issue of what’s “fair” is left to elected officials and here is where the world of politics frequently replaces what makes sense from a purely economic or business framework.

While I do not pretend to have the answer to this question, I would suggest that the business community and business leaders should play a critical role here. U.S. businesses and their leaders have a great story to tell and they are in the best position to educate the politicians on what makes “business sense” rather than what is more likely to get someone votes. Good luck in getting this model to work since you would be asking elected officials to surrender some of the power they so desperately seek to get and do not want to give up.

Barry Rabe

J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Environmental Policy, and Director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Barry Rabe
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

In many ways, states have increased their dependency on the federal government in the past half-decade or so. No two states are alike but this is linked to a few factors.

One, the Great Recession really put many states on a roller coaster and many have still not seen a full rebound in their sales tax revenues. So we have a rather uneven recovery in state finances, depending upon their particular mix of taxes and economic trends. In turn, there is expanding demand for a range of state services.

Two, expanding federal programs, such as the Affordable Care Act, mean that federal funding and subsidies looms ever larger, at least in those states actively engaged. States also become more dependent on the federal government during the worst points of the recession, given expanded intergovernmental transfer funding, and so many are still struggling with this transition. Ironically, many states make clear that they would like less federal interference in their lives BUT generally support expanding federal funding support.

There have been many proposals for sorting out functions in our federal system, though these were most seriously considered in the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, it is hard to envision a serious debate on federalism in the current Congressional context. Many of these reforms proposed concentrating more federal efforts on policies that clearly were national or regional in character and could create incentives for states to shirk responsibility in the absence of federal presence. In turn, they would shift to states responsibilities for programs focused more directly on economic development. There have been many variations on this but we just have not had serious engagement on these issues in some time. And, since the demise of the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, there are few places to go to discuss this and also few members of Congress who have significant state government experience.

David C. Parsley

E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Economics and Finance, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
David C. Parsley
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

Largely, it is determined by two things: (1) tax receipts; areas that have high per capita income and more economic activity typically pay more federal tax, and (2) spending. Spending is concentrated on areas with high poverty and elderly, and areas that are centers of federal employment. This last creates incentives for our congressional legislators to try and direct federal spending to their states. And, they are successful.

Interestingly, there is a red state/ blue state difference as pointed out by Jeff Frankel, of the Harvard Kennedy School. According to the data, and despite the rhetoric, there is a strong correlation between federal transfers, net of federal taxes paid, to states and voting patterns in presidential elections in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections – with more transfers going to states that voted republican. These transfers are heavily affected by congressional efforts to direct funding to their home states. Good or bad is a different story. Poverty eradication is a public good and presumably, if poor people live in one place, we want to try and enable them to break out of poverty – which may require federal spending. Similarly, if elderly people tend to live in the south, spending will flow there too. Just as a matter of record, the states which are the largest net beneficiaries of federal transfers (averages over the last 10 years) are: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, North Dakota, Louisiana, New Mexico, Hawaii, Alabama, West Virginia, Maine, and Kentucky.

What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?

My view is that since we live in a country, most activities with spillovers across state lines should at least meet federal guidelines, e.g., anything where standardization is useful. The examples are legion.

Think about driving on the right side of the road, or the physical structure of roads, bridges, rail lines, electricity current and the physical infrastructure – right down to the end user, etc. The constitution, for example, forbids taxation of interstate commerce. It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine what would happen without that restriction. Banking regulation is another area where we have tried state regulation and failed. Education is another clear area where national standards should be the minimum we have. Some environmental regulation should be local (those with only local spillovers), while some should be national.

Some of the great strengths of the United States are its common language, and free movement of labor, goods and services, and capital. Think also about civil rights; without federal enforcement we would still be in the dark ages. Anything that diminishes these will diminish the United States.

What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

We might start by reducing congressional control of redistricting. The process of gerrymandering congressional districts separates them and us from representative democracy, and endows incumbents with outsized staying power, making it very difficult to unseat them. The solution is actually simple, have districts drawn by non-partisan committees. Alternately one could draw districts with a computer program that simply makes rectangles; the idea is to tie representation to a community. Districts today resemble only the incumbent’s definition of a community.

James Feigenbaum

Associate Professor of Economics, Utah State University
James Feigenbaum
What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

One of the aspects of the Invisible Hand that is not well understood is that in order for markets to be efficient they have to be complete, which basically means there have to be prediction markets for every possible future history. Since markets are not, in reality, complete, there is a role for the government to step in. In particular, individual states do not have much capacity to insure themselves against the possibility that something bad will happen to them. For example, Louisiana did not have much ability to insure itself against Katrina; and New York and New Jersey did not have much ability to insure itself against Sandy. Likewise, Texas did not have much ability to insure itself against the possibility of the sharp drop in oil prices. The federal government, thus, has an interest to smooth consumption in the individual states, transferring resources from states that are having good times to states that have bad times. If markets were complete, the states wouldn't need the federal government for this purpose, but markets aren't complete.

Of course, as things stand, there are some states that perennially contribute more in taxes than they get back from the government in services; and likewise there are states that perennially get more in services than they pay in taxes. I think there is a strong argument that these perennial resource flows are problematic. However, the Constitution makes it difficult to do this. The states that are smaller population-wise have a disproportionate amount of power in Congress and in determining who is President, so the system is generally set up to give them more services than the taxes they pay. Unfortunately, I do not see any path to rectify this within the Constitution.

Scott McConnell

Assistant Professor of Economics, Eastern Oregon University
Scott McConnell
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

Whether or not states are more or less dependent upon Federal aid depends on a few reasons. First of all, some states have economies that are structurally dependent (the economies themselves are set up to depend upon Federal assistance). For example, states that depend upon military activity to drive the economy or agriculture subsidies. Some states have a larger share of elderly, which drives up health care federal spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security).

Then, there are non-structural elements, or cyclical infusions by the federal government that occur during a downturn in the economy. This includes Medicaid, unemployment insurance and Social Security. Some of these are paid out through the states, but the federal government provides the needed relief. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to states to assist with these costs.

Lastly, the United States is set up so that there is a redistribution of funds between states at all times. There are some states that pay more taxes than others and some states that receive more "federal" assistance than what they pay in taxes. It is essentially a transfer system, much like Social Security at the personal level. This process actually stabilizes things at a much greater level than what is taking place in Europe. In the EU, there is very little redistribution and when a crisis hits, you end up with some countries doing very well (Germany) and others (Greece) having Great Depression levels of unemployment (25%).

What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?

This is a difficult question, as almost all governance is better at a local level, rather than at a federal level. So, what a community needs is identified quickly and the resources could be best used by the communities themselves. But, due to financial constraints at both the state and local level, it is very difficult to fund the "big" programs such as Medicaid.

It would probably be best to identify the national priorities first. For instance, is health care a state issue or a United States issue? Once that is identified, then the funding should follow on the scale of the program. Personally, I would argue that health care is an issue that crosses state lines as it drives things like bankruptcy, which can slow economic growth, so it should probably be funded and administered at the federal level. I would argue that Medicaid is also such an issue. But, that is how I see things and not necessarily how it is politically perceived.

Management of land resources might be more of a state issue and the states or localities should decide how the land is used (as long as the land is not close to a state line, where another state's rights are being violated). A problem can arise with the land example if negative externalities flow across state lines.

What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

Right now we can measure the difference between what a state pays in taxes (all federal taxes, including FICA and Med) and what they require through redistribution, such a food assistance. Obviously, the most populous states with the highest levels of income pay the most in taxes and the opposite receive more assistance than they pay in. Should this system be changed? I see what is happening in Europe and I would say our system is working better. Could we make it fairer than it is now? Yes, I think we could do better as outlined in by my previous answer above.

The perfect system is tough to come by, but I would argue for a high degree of local governance and decision-making with federal financial assistance. This can lead to problems of mismanagement as in the cases of third-world development assistance, but the local voice needs to be at the table at the very least. The Federal Government is the only institution that can spend at the level required during an economic downturn on the resources that are needed to keep the economy moving. States are limited in this respect (as are European nations) and without some redistribution of the Federal dollars states like Alabama and Mississippi, who pay in very little, but are assisted by the federal government, would become like Greece.

Santanu Chatterjee

Director of the Full-Time MBA Program & Associate Professor of Economics, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia
Santanu Chatterjee
What makes states more or less dependent on Federal dollars? Is this good or bad?

States depend on the federal government in a variety of ways, which include funding for infrastructure, education, healthcare, unemployment insurance, etc. In fact, most aspects of our daily lives includes an array of "public goods" provided by both the state and federal governments.

The need to balance state-level budgets at the end of each fiscal year creates incentives for state legislatures to depend more heavily on federal dollars to help close their books. This is especially binding in difficult economic times when state and local tax revenues (sales, income, property, etc.) are on the decline.

State dependence on federal dollars for important public services and goods is inevitable in a democracy. However, any lack of oversight or proper evaluation of need, costs, and benefits may lead to a significant wastage of federal resources.

What programs should be a state/local responsibility and what should be a federal responsibility?

In a market-oriented society it is difficult to completely decouple government programs and services, since there are often overlaps in how states and the federal government interact with private citizens. But perhaps infrastructure, education, and healthcare are three areas where the federal government can play an important role, since investments in these areas have both national and global consequences.

What measures should be undertaken in order to ensure a fair redistribution of federal resources?

It is important that federal resources be disbursed with an eye to creating an "equality of opportunity" for all. One of the most pressing challenges of our times is stagnating income growth, especially for the middle class. This can and does have significant effects on economic growth and income inequality. Critical investments in infrastructure, affordable healthcare and education, and comprehensive immigration and tax reform are some of the key areas through which federal resources can help ensure that we promote both efficiency and equity in our society.

Methodology

In order to identify which states are most and least federally dependent, WalletHub examined the 50 U.S. states and across four key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights.

  1. Return on Taxes Paid to the Federal Government (Federal Funding in $ Divided by Federal Income Taxes in $): Weight = 1
  2. Federal Funding as a Percentage of State Revenue (Federal Funding in $ Divided by State Revenue in $ then Multiplied by 100): Weight = 1
  3. Number of Federal Employees per 1,000 Residents (Number of Federal Workers Divided by Number of State Residents): Weight = 0.5
  4. Number of Civilian Non-Defense Federal Employees per 1,000 Residents (Total Federal Civilian Employment Minus Total Civilian Employment of Army, Air Force, Navy & Defense Department): Weight = 0.25

The following metrics were included in the report for context only. They represent subsets of federal funding and are reflected in the first two metrics.

  • Federal Contracts Divided by IRS Collections
  • Grants Divided by IRS Collections
  • Direct Payments Divided by IRS Collections
  • Federal Insurance Divided by IRS Collections

 

Sources: Data in this report is courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service, the Census Bureau, Transparency.gov, U.S. Department of Commerce - Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Defense Manpower Data Center and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unless noted otherwise, the statistics underlying this report are from 2013.

Author

User
John Kiernan is Senior Writer & Editor at Evolution Finance. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Journalism, a minor in Sport Commerce & Culture,…
1591 Wallet Points

Discussion

 
By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
It occurs to me that liberals tend to create victim classes then justify government largesse based on that status. Now isn't it true that the Democrats, for more than 100 years, oppressed blacks and, as an unintended consequence, poor whites in the south? So based on liberals own logic we have a victim class the Democrats created for whom, for generations, dependency is now a way of life - and just because some of them read more
 
Aug 2, 2015
@Billw: It's a pretty unfair characterization to say that Democrats created a victim class. While it's true that it was traditionally the party opposed to Reconstruction of any kind, the Republicans (via Hayes) dropped any real attempt at civil rights legislation (voting rights, anti-lynching legislation, etc.) in 1877. It wasn't a Democrat problem, it was an American problem. The only real legislation that addressed these biases--the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act--were passed read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
Did anyone notice they count Federal non-defense employees twice and while they claim to weight them only .25 they actually, by picking them twice, weigh them .75? Or was it NOT clear that they count them in ALL federal employees then again in the next (last) category shown? Why not split up defense v. non defense then only count and weight each type once? Because it would tell a different story?
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
I would be a lot more impressed with a study that shows how those who actually get the federal funds vote. Or a study that didn't cherry pick it's data then go the additional step of weighting the categories to produce the intended result. Naturally when you compare federal funding and state revenue this way you're going to tend to cherry pick low tax states.
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By: Stevenl
May 13, 2015
I have an issue with the methodology. The statistic "Federal Funding as % of State Revenue" is skewed against states with low taxes.
Let's say State A has annual revenue of 5K per capita from the state and local level and 5K per capita from the federal government, 50% of it's revenue would then come from the federal government.
State B, meanwhile, has lower taxes so they have annual revenue of 2K per capita from the state read more
 
Jun 20, 2015
@Stevenl: Your observation exposes a KEY flaw of this type of claimed "federal dependency." Thanks for posting that.
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By: Stephend
Jun 20, 2015
@Stevenl: Your logic is flawed why would a higher raw number necessarily mean a higher dependency on the federal government that doesn't make sense. His methodology makes perfect sense. What percentage of a states budget is made up of funds from the federal government is a perfect representation of dependence. A lower percentage means that a state is better able to fund itself out of it's own resources.
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Stephend: You're missing the point. As usual, first data that will tend to support the desired conclusion was chosen. Second, that data was compared in a way that strengthened the probability the desired conclusion would result. Third, the data was weighted, probably on a test basis, until a weighting was found that ensured the desired result. Just because an allegedly 'red' state gets more than it gives doesn't prove that Republicans are getting that money read more
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By: Egbegb
May 5, 2015
Do federal taxes include FICA tax?
 
By: Stephend
Jun 20, 2015
@Egbegb: This methodology isn't a flaw it's the point.
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Stephend: Actually the methodology is DELIBERATELY flawed. THAT is the point. Just because it reaches the conclusion you desire as a result of deliberate flaws does not change that FACT.
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By: Victors1
Apr 15, 2015
Like to see some better reports like this. Some of this data is skewed as southern states have naval/army bases that the federal government funds. Blue states clearly in pay more than they take out and Red states and those without income Taxes take more. Everyone should get back what they put in. There shouldn't be such a disparity. It gives not tax paying states unfair advantages to attact people while the productive tax paying read more
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By: VictorT
Mar 24, 2015
Basically, the conservative's 'tax and spend' accusations are a diaper-load of defensive projection. I knew this already from fact checking the bellyaching of Washington State's 3 easternmost counties that are always bitching about free spending on the coast while they suck up the coast's tax dollars.
 
By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@VictorT: Well listen to you! Who in those three counties gets the money, how and why is it sent there, why wouldn't the more populous parts of a state tend to have higher tax revenue, what is your source of information and how do those who actually get the money vote?
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Jan 18, 2015
I know that last column isn't 'federal employees per capita.'

Per capita means 'per person,' and I'm sure that no state has several federal employees per person (no matter HOW intrusive the NSA is, they don't have five people hired just to watch you.)

Maybe that is supposed to be, "federal employees per thousand?" or something like that?
 
By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Luke_roadwalker_1: If you look at the top of the columns you will see it does indeed say 'per 1,000'. Not saying that was there before, maybe they added it in response to your post? My problem is, at least as they label the columns, they counted and weighted non-defense employees twice. Why? Plus they don't give meaningful data. So the state gets more than it gives - but how do those who actually get all read more
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By: Trololol9
Dec 9, 2014
quit youre belly aching! its time to be grown ups now.. if you don't believe it, look it up and correct it! here is a reliable tool for you to use. please if youre going to have an argument have not just a source but a reliable source.
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
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Oct 25, 2014
This is a very poor cartographic product.
1. Greater dependency should be shown with a darker hue not a lighter one.

2. The accompanying table lists the heading as "Federal Employees Per Capita". That would mean the number of Federal employees for every resident of the state. A value of 1 would mean every resident is a Federal Employee. Every state has a value higher than 1 so that would mean there are more Federal Employees than read more
 
By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Enigma1083: I think they fixed the issue by adding (per 1,000) to each category but I would tend to agree with your final conclusion anyway. This is more of the usual liberal nonsense - garbage in, garbage out.
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Sep 11, 2014
Some of these are... true but not really. The Western states are chopped up between federal agencies with the rest parceled out to citizens or counties, state ownership. NM is roughly 50% owned by the fed government, Add to that, with the gov's huge labs in NM, the fed government is one of, if not the, largest employers in the state. Families follow to the research stations so kids go to state public schools. So, read more
 
Jan 18, 2015
@lisa_manguso: I live in Arizona. It is true that there is a lot of federal land, but it is also true that I've heard some politicians be quite brazen and argue that we don't need to pay as much in state taxes because 'the feds will give it to us.'
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Lisa_manguso: Goot points - my take is that this result is meaningless until you drill down and show how those who are actually getting the federal money vote. If they tend to vote Democrat then the conclusions presented are deliberately skewed to present a result completely opposite of the truth.
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Luke_roadwalker_1: You know, back when Bush said "the Federal Government taxes too much - here everyone, here's an extra refund check for you" I could have refused to cash mine, but like most others I cashed it and spent it.
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Aug 22, 2014
There's one phrase that's really infuriating me... "federal income tax investment". How is paying taxes to the federal government an investment? Also... states' rights on tax laws. Comment away.
 
By: Mlynkohn
Aug 31, 2014
as I see it, taxes are an investment into the country and government has a vital role in the relative strength of our economy and standard of living. Federal taxes subsidize our businesses, fund basic research, provide income to individuals who, for whatever reason, cannot be self supporting, supplement low wages for American workers (food stamp use by fulltime workers), funding for infrastructure projects, jobs funded by federal contracts and grants. For better or worse, read more
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By: Sue
Jun 30, 2015
@Mlynkohn: What a refreshing breath of cognitive thinking.
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Mlynkohn: Federal taxes have no business "subsidizing our businesses", businesses should succeed or fail based on their own merits. This leads to one of the big lies of the left - when we have economic problems they are usually caused by socialist interference in our system not by it's underlying capitalist nature. Whether you blame the CRA or the repeal of parts of Glass-Steagall (or both) for the recent economic shock the conclusion remains that read more
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Jul 16, 2014
It's hard to believe people are still dredging up, let alone paying attention to, this idiotic propaganda.

First, STATES don't pay taxes to the federal government, individuals and businesses do. Delaware is the state that's least "dependent" because 60% of the Fortune 500 are incorporated in Delaware, but that's not where the revenue is generated. A couple of billion dollars in federal tax revenues sent in from New Jersey come from Exxon/Mobil, but it's not just read more
 
Jul 17, 2014
LITTLE JUMPY THERE PATRIOT?
WHY DON'T YOU WORRY ABOUT THE KOCH BROS VS THIS?

YOU ARE A 'RED' ...RIGHT? A REDCOAT?
OK..SO GO KNOCK 'EM OFF. DO YOUR JOB AS AN AMERICAN
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Jul 17, 2014
"This metric illustrates how many dollars in federal funding state taxpayers receive for every one dollar in federal income taxes they pay..."
COME ON NOW PATRIOT.

ARE YOU A SPY?.
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By: Commentor
Jul 17, 2014
Ah, but see the job of a journalist on your average website is not to create a logically valid argument about economics or public policy, it's to get eyeballs. You get eyeballs by being provocative and taking a side. That's what turned Fox into an empire, and why (almost) everyone else started copying them. It is, in fact, stodgy reports created by actual economists, which I happen to be, that no one pays attention to. read more
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By: Michaelh1
Jul 16, 2014
This "report" is polar opposite of near to all legitimate studies. Let us take one state for example, Illinois...In other reports that are not skewed by the liberal "thought" process, or conservative for that matter is ranked in the 40's...But, one of the top four states for social havens will always be loved in "reports" made by the libs.
 
Oct 8, 2014
@michaelh1: I'd be interested in seeing all of these ligitimate studies. Or how about just one. So far in looking through Google using keywords "states dependent on federal government" I don't see any which show a polar opposite. As far as I can tell you simply don't like the analysis and subsequent ranking so you're making up *facts*. From that I can deduce you are probably a member of the tea party .

FYI, Illinois is read more
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Nov 17, 2014
@michaelh1: lol, it's always the fault of liberals or some liberal conspiracy, eh? I suppose it's also not true that the 9 poorest states in the nation are Conservative states? All those conservatives were lying about their incomes during the census, thus conservative states really have the highest median incomes, not the lowest? Lol. Taking "personal responsibility" is not something conservatives do.

The taxfoundation (dot) org has this same information, for many years gone by. read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Michaelh1: Because anyone who bothers to look can see this report is a set of conclusions that were worked backwards to the available data. No doubt different raw data was placed in a spreadsheet then weights were randomly assigned until the desired results popped into view!
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Jun 6, 2014
I presume that federal expenditures include social security retirement checks and federal employee/military retirement checks and if this is correct then the entire analysis is bogus. Retirees are free to live wherever they wish and often flee high cost blue states. Military and other federal installations are another source of bias/error.
 
Oct 24, 2014
@archer_gravely: "Retirees are free to live wherever they wish and often flee high cost blue states."

You're the opposite of correct. Since they make less money than while they were working and access to jobs in their career don't factor in they tend to move to lower cost warmer weather states from higher cost states that have more job opportunities. (So New York to Florida is a common one)
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By: Westpenn
Dec 23, 2014
@themattheikkila: 3 counties in NY, one in Philadelphia, one in Los Angeles, and one in Illinois have more residents living below the poverty line than Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi, combined, AND, all are SOLID Democratic Congressional districts. And what of population differences? If you have 19 million people living in NYC and you run 100 miles of federal interstate through it, and you have 1.8 million people living in the entire state of read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Archer_gravely: It also fails to differentiate if all that federal largesse actually goes to those who vote Republican or those who vote Democrat - if they vote at all - and in what size chunks. Let's say you have some relatively small number of federal employees who make ridiculous salaries and their job is to make life difficult for the taxpayers in the state they're in, and they all know their jobs are dependent on read more
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By: Dross61
May 17, 2014
Does any one else find this article tough to follow?

What is the reasoning behind this statement? "What if, for example, a particular state can afford not to tax its residents at high rates because it’s receiving disproportionately more funding from the federal government than states with apparently oppressive tax codes? ".

Is the author trying to saying taxing more would cause fed money to dry up? Probably not. Or are trying to say the read more
 
Oct 24, 2014
@Dross61: ""What if, for example, a particular state can afford not to tax its residents at high rates because it’s receiving disproportionately more funding from the federal government than states with apparently oppressive tax codes? "

It doesn't work that way. You have states that tax their residents highly in order to cover the governmental needs and then you have taxes that don't tax their resident highly enough and require federal assistance. So for instance, California read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Dross61: The author is trying to claim Republicans talk about being independent and self-sufficient but in fact are more dependent and insufficient than Democrats. Of course without actually showing all that federal money going to people who actually vote Republican, or showing that all that federal money actually comes from people who vote Democrat (not just states as a whole, but actual people), this study is just more liberal propaganda - conclusions that were presented read more
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By: Wheelemw
May 14, 2014
The largest problem with this study is that it doesn't take into account the distribution of people older than 65 in a given state. Southern states have a higher percentage of people 65+ per capita (many of which migrated there after they retired). To truly do this analysis correctly one would have to adjust for retirees as they are not producers in the economy, but take a large portion of federal government outlays. If one read more
 
Oct 24, 2014
@wheelemw: Why do retirees move to these states? Because they have low taxes and costs of living. And by that I mean the residents who live their don't pay it and the states with higher taxes help pick up the slack. So whether you look at it your way or mine, it is absolutely about red vs blue states (anti tax as lower levels vs higher tax at lower levels).
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Wheelemw: Point taken, but the biggest flaw in this study is it proves nothing about who is actually getting those federal dollars - people who vote Republican or people who vote Democrat? If the people who get the money don't vote or vote Democrat when they do vote then the truth is opposite the conclusion given.
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Themattheikkila: Yes, but you're missing the point, as usual. This study suggests Republicans/Conservatives are somehow greedy and dependent despite the fact they talk about being independent, self sufficient. Well the point is that Republicans tend to create a climate that is friendly to all, particularly to retirees. Since retired persons don't pay a lot of taxes but do get federal money since they DID pay a lot of taxes all their life, this automatically ensures read more
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May 6, 2014
The methodology for getting at federal funds by state is flawed due to the termination of the Consolidated Federal Funds Report in 2010. Other attempts to get at this will be have to cobbled together from a variety of sources.
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By: Tippet523
Apr 9, 2014
Does this factor in State taxes. I just paid 43,000 to Illinois. This resulted in 17,000 less to the Feds. so shoulnt Illinois be credited in this scenario with receiving 17,000 back from the fed.
 
By: Michaelh1
Jul 16, 2014
@tippet523: Illinois in real evidence takes more from the feds than over 40 states.
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By: GWHayduke
Apr 7, 2014
That should be, they have HIGH "Federal Funding as a Percentage of Revenue."
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By: GWHayduke
Apr 7, 2014
Just a note that one of the reasons many of the western states have low "Funding as % of Revenue" is that large percentages of those states are federal land - meaning there is no property tax revenue to be had,or any of the other taxes that often come from property owners and tenants. Utah, for example, is 57.4% federal land. States do receive funds known as PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) but the read more
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By: Ghoward79
Mar 28, 2014
hmmm, so is that bad? why not break it down by party affiliation then? or race?
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Mar 28, 2014
Wow, the more I look at this the more biased it becomes... look at where you used per capita and where you didn't. You only use per capita where it helps blue, but on things like direct spending you don't.
Federal workers don't always directly help states. HIgher tax rates for states don't help either... and how do you account for state's like texas and Florida with NO state income tax. This report is ridiculous, read more
 
By: Maximusb1
Mar 28, 2014
This math is probably alittle to complex for you. You should start with something basic like food stamp use per capita. Doing that you'll see red states have a larger per capita on food stamps. Sample:
% of state population on food stamps:
TX: 14.8% -- 3,916,115 people on SNAP (pop. 26,448,193)
CA: 11.2% -- 4,295,452 people on SNAP (pop. 38,332,521)
(Note: CA has 12 million more people in population, and a higher cost of living--which makes their read more
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By: Michaelh1
Jul 16, 2014
@maximusb1: That is actually incorrect. You got that information off MSNBC, didn't you. Those numbers are entirely made up. As an average--blue/red, red has less people in poverty and debt. Look at Detroit, damn. Almost every single entity with a very high poverty area are controlled by blue. Darn, is it really that easy to show how false your argument is? Yes, yes it is. Blue destroys the economy, true red fixes it. Blue makes read more
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Jul 16, 2014
@Michaelh1 - False. This data is directly from the FDA (you can read, correct?)
http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/29snapcurrpp.htm

And is backed by other true data:
This billionaire data also parallels state data showing:
► Red states take more in Federal aid than they pay in taxes (2010 census data.)
► Blue states pay the taxes that support the red states.
► Red states have 6% fewer college graduates per capita than blue states.
► Red states have a higher % of their populations on food read more
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Mar 28, 2014
Federal employees per capita should not be included. Federal subsidies to state industries shouldn't be included... they aren't up to the state...
You're skewing... here is a link directly to Taxes PAID to Fed vs. Monies Received from the FED, by state.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/02/is-your-state-a-net-giver-or-taker-of-federal-taxes/
 
By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Josh_schneider_351: Not only that, but notice they count non-defense federal employees twice? At least that's what the column headings imply. I guess counting them once didn't produce the desired result?
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Mar 27, 2014
Every smart business man knows: It takes money to make money.... Sadly, the public is naive to the reality of the con-job known as CONservative ideology
 
By: Michaelh1
Jul 16, 2014
@danny_livewire: Wow, that thought promise was....out there. True matter is that true-conservative ideology built this state. How can a business, or a person, thrive in the socialist havens the blues love so much...? Lemming.
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Jul 16, 2014
@michaelh1: Michaelh cannot read 7th-grade data charts.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/US_Federal_Debt_as_Percent_of_GDP_by_President.jpg
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Jul 18, 2014
The problem is actually spelled as: LEARNING. ... If you do the math, Conservative ideology fails because it doesn't account for the economy. It only accounts for individual budgeting, and completely ignores the fact that we are all connected in an economy. ... And actually, Texas used to be a Democratic state before the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Jonson (from Texas, read his writings: he knew racism would make Texans switch sides read more
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By: Aaronf666
Mar 27, 2014
From a friend of mine, after I sent him your article! I would love to know your thoughts on the following:

"Several dubious assumptions. 1. that states with high share of federal workers "depend" on government because they wouldn't be doing something else, (most likely something more productive) without those government jobs; and 2. Federal revenue would need to be made up with other sources or face declines in services. A low/ tax/ low spend state read more
 
By: Maximusb1
Mar 28, 2014
@aaronf666: That doesn't negate the fact that they ARE taking Federal money--those employee incomes are paid by Federal taxes (which the majority of comes from blue states). The GOP ideal is "lowering government spending"--which by those ideals would included fewer Federal workers. The GOP condemns Federal spending--but the GOP/red states are the biggest users' per capita of Federal aid.
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Aug 5, 2014
So, in your estimation, blue states chase away businesses, jobs, Military Bases, retirees of every stripe and somehow this is the fault of the red states? Well, you are right. We can't help it if we are far smarter than dumb ass blue states.
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By: Stephend
Jun 20, 2015
@Rodney_campbell_14: based on red state rankings in education you might want to be careful about who you call dumb
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By: LeoDragon
Mar 27, 2014
There is no mention of what years were used in the study nor how the "Red"/"Blue" status was determined. These lacking qualities make replication difficult, which relegates this to "junk" science status, speculation at best.
 
By: Maximusb1
Mar 28, 2014
@LeoDragon: Most likely 2013/2012 data. The data correlates with food stamp use per capita. Doing that you'll see red states have a larger per capita on food stamps. Sample:
% of state population on food stamps:
TX: 14.8% -- 3,916,115 people on SNAP (pop. 26,448,193)
CA: 11.2% -- 4,295,452 people on SNAP (pop. 38,332,521)(Note: CA has 12 million more people in population, and a higher cost of living--which makes their smaller % and only 379,337 more people on read more
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By: Maximusb1
Mar 28, 2014
@LeoDragon: And needless to say, the first map (green-red), is party-irrelevant. You can look at the map, and you generally know which starts are the red & blue states. You can tell the majority of GOP/red states are the takers (displayed by red), and the majority of blue states are makers (displayed by green)
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By: LeoDragon
Apr 1, 2014
statistically weak using so few years
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By: KLF284
Mar 27, 2014
I observe that major U.S. military installations are concentrated in the red states displayed on the map. If you were to control for these installations, how different might the results be? Presumably, those states will have significant government contracting and federal employee levels.
 
Mar 28, 2014
The simpliest Federal aid per capita mapping can be found in food stamps usage. Doing that you'll see red states have a larger per capita on food stamps. Sample:
% of state population on food stamps:
TX: 14.8% -- 3,916,115 people on SNAP (pop. 26,448,193)
CA: 11.2% -- 4,295,452 people on SNAP (pop. 38,332,521)(Note: CA has 12 million more people in population, and a higher cost of living--which makes their smaller % and only 379,337 more people on read more
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May 6, 2014
Part of the reason for concentration of military bases in red states has to do with:
1) Woodrow Wilson's desire to put Army bases in the south in WW I; and
2) Putting strategic nuclear weapons bases away from the coasts during the Cold War.
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@KLF284: see that's exactly the point I'm making, along with the fact they don't really show any proof the federal money is going to Republicans. It's more likely much of not most of it is going to Democrats who happen to live in 'red' states, though they may not vote all that often. Several people have pointed out these tend to be states where liberals who lived in blue states retire then pay little or read more
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Mar 26, 2014
This is quite an interesting data analysis. I enjoyed reading about it and about your (perhaps) surprising results, but I also have several questions.

First, if possible, I'd like to try to replicate/validate these findings. Can you point me to the specific data sources you used?

Also, I have a few thoughts/questions, mostly on the methodology:

1. You state as a goal: "elucidate each state’s true financial independence, or lack thereof, from the federal government."
1.a. In metric read more
 
By: Maximusb1
Mar 28, 2014
Blue/red states are fairly well known. If you use just the last 2012 POTUS election, as the red/blue definition for SNAP (food stamp) usage, you'll find red states overall, have a higher per capita use of food stamps. However, that 2012 POTUS election as the definer--is being very generous to the GOP, as it would put Florida, which has a high per capita on food stamps into the blue--which officially it wouldn't be since it read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Ryan.b.harvey: Actually it seems the obviously specious conclusion they're presenting is that conservatives talk of being independent and self-sufficient but are actually dependent and insufficient and liberals are the opposite. This is similar to their crowing about how liberals have more and higher college degrees - well that's not surprising since you can get an advanced degree in 'angry womyn's studies' or 'angry minority studies' at any number of liberal bastions without doing one bit read more
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By: Racyman57
Mar 26, 2014
Why doesn't this surprise me? I live in Southeastern Idaho, which is as Republican as any state in the nation, but the economy in this area is heavily dependant on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL). This is a nuclear testing facility, that has been located in this area for over 50 years. The INEL employs anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 employees, in an area where the largest city is Idaho Falls, with a population read more
 
Dec 8, 2014
@Racyman57: "The federal research facility was established in 1949 as the "National Reactor Testing Station" (NRTS).[1] In 1975, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was divided into the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Idaho site was for a short time named ERDA and then subsequently renamed to the "Idaho National Engineering Laboratory" (INEL) in 1977 with the creation of the Department of Energy (DOE) under President Carter. After read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Racyman57: You know, a more convincing argument for conservative ideals and against big government and wasteful spending that Democrats/liberals are all about, I haven't seen! The bit about a janitor not being able to hold conduit for an electrician is no doubt a union rule and you know which party supports unions and such union nonsense and which is always trying to rid the world of that. In fact from the way you talk about read more
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By: Billw
Jul 14, 2015
@Racyman57: By the way, it hasn't been INEL for years.
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