Paul L. Caron

Monday, September 27, 2004

Red States Feed At Federal Trough, Blue States Supply The Feed

Update: Red States Feed At Federal Trough, Blue States Supply The Feed (July 10, 2023)
Monday, September 27, 2004

The Tax Foundation has released a fascinating report showing which states benefit from federal tax and spending policies, and which states foot the bill.

US 50 States MapThe report shows that of the 32 states (and the District of Columbia) that are "winners" -- receiving more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 76% are Red States that voted for George Bush in 2000. Indeed, 17 of the 20 (85%) states receiving the most federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Red States. Here are the Top 10 states that feed at the federal trough (with Red States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)
Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.

Think Tank Reports | Permalink


I don't think the analysis would look the same if you went county by county.

The taxes from "blue states" come from affluent suburbs some of which are fiscally conservative though socially liberal - - the kind who elected Bill Weld by large margins.

Keep in mind also that about 45% of the population in the red states are poor minorities who tend to vote Democratic.

This is a guess but it's a pretty good guess - if you did the analysis county by county I think you'd end up with close to the opposite result.

Posted by: Pat T | Jul 25, 2008 7:13:33 AM

While the Red states have been successful at limiting monies sent to the federal trough. And considering that Blue states have been the receipients of Democrat control and thus Democrat-sponsored taxation, this makes total sense. Stop high taxation and the Blue states will see this negative revenue stream stop.

Posted by: Bob Rae | Dec 7, 2006 2:31:56 AM

t blows my mind. The only thing I owe you is a laugh. Plus the cost of living up there is so high I don't know why anyone would stay. No wonder there are so many ghettos in the north..

News Department Voice of USA

Posted by: Elizabeth | Jun 28, 2006 12:54:53 PM

In San Francisco (way overtaxed), your tax dollars are spent on any city employee that wants to get a sex change operation

Posted by: elizabeth | Jun 18, 2006 9:04:16 AM

I understand each and everything. actually been idly wondering about this in the aftermath of the election

Posted by: Elizabeth | Jun 15, 2006 10:55:22 AM

Once again, Democrat looneys have distorted the facts on this one. What a Crock 'O Crap. If you would have been honest in your research, you would have easily noticed that there are blue and red voting communities in each state. So let's get indepth! In every state, regardless of red/blue you would have found that the most crime is committed by Democrat voters, the most federal and state giveaway dollars (welfare etc.)are spent on Democrat voters. Most illegal aliens vote Democrat(I love this one). Most felons vote Democrat which goes along with most Convicts in prison vote Democrat because your illustrious leaders have made this into law in some blue states giving these scumbags the right to vote. Most unemployment=Democrats(mainly because they are hooked on Federal and State handouts). Highest taxes are in blue states in blue communities with the most blue voters(so you can pay for the handouts)Example: In San Francisco (way overtaxed), your tax dollars are spent on any city employee that wants to get a sex change operation(taxpayers expense). Also, in California, it is the law that employee insurance must cover a homesexuals partner's medical/dental (Regardless of time living together) while a heterosexual living with his girlfriend for even 20 years cannot. Blue communities have the most homelessness and neglect of mental patients(and the most mental patients!). I'm not saying that Red communities don't have problems, but I'm damn glad I live in one.

In the lyrics of Aimee Mann:
And it won't stop, till you wise up!

Posted by: R | Feb 22, 2006 10:43:24 PM complimentwhosewondered

Posted by: recounting | Oct 1, 2005 11:07:47 PM

"Well see, this "taxprof" page doesn't show which states are actually receiving the most money from the government.

The info on this page is designed to trick you into thinking that the red states receive more federal dollars than the blue states.

The fact is that it's the blue states own fault for paying in more taxes and the reason why the red states receive more than they pay in."

Do you have any PROOF that this page is deceptive?

Posted by: s | Feb 17, 2005 6:27:42 PM

I appreciate the discussion format, even though it is a lot of information to absorb. We need to comprehend a lot of verifiable information, if we are to counter the biggest disaster, PRESENT and FUTURE, caused by the architects of reactionary conservatism, I have seen in my 74 years as a citizen of these United States. I believe that the concerned citizens, BOTH "RED" and "BLUE", will have to mount an effort akin to the Civil Rights Movement, if we are to have a snowball's chance in hell of recovering the real freedoms and liberties (and the ambience of a truly-free society) which we previously enjoyed. We as a nation are in trouble and are exporting our poison throughout the world at an exponential rate. It didn't start with the current president's cohorts; it is the effect and predicted outcome of the Dixiecrat-Democrat mentality which was brought to fruition following the Goldwater run for the Executive office. Expediency over principle became the norm, especially for political and judicial decision makers, and now ALL U. S. people, regardless of class, race or other affiliations, are dangerously close to losing the guarantees of rights which are clearly intended in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and for many decades, were reconfirmed by the highest court in the nation. Even that body can no longer be assumed to be, first and foremost, on the side of the people of these disunited states.

Posted by: Matthew Goode | Jan 30, 2005 1:06:30 PM

Well see, this "taxprof" page doesn't show which states are actually receiving the most money from the government.

The info on this page is designed to trick you into thinking that the red states receive more federal dollars than the blue states.

The fact is that it's the blue states own fault for paying in more taxes and the reason why the red states receive more than they pay in.

Posted by: me | Jan 15, 2005 9:39:07 AM

Open your eyes all of you. The federal government does not have the right to tax our incomes and certainly shouldn't be redistributing the wealth through grants and handouts. It was unconstitutional until 1913 when the federal government decided it was their right and made the 16th ammendment (which was never legally ratified) to tax all sources of our income. Who cares whos getting more of our stolen money back. Before 1913 our government had to run efficiently. The fact of the matter is that congress only has the right to vote on 18 subjects included in section 8 article 1 of the constitution and none of them are for grants and special interest spending to get votes. The way they spend money like they did in the november 388 Billion dollar spending bill is constitutionally illegal. It is criminal what they are doing and you need to drop the red state blue state whining and wise up. Stupid Republicans and Democrats always argue the points that don't matter.

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 11, 2005 9:28:11 PM

Let's see, the liberal, tax-and-spend Democrat BLUE states that consistently vote for higher and higher taxes, are also PAYING more taxes....

While the conservative, it's-our-damn-money Republican RED states, who consistently vote for lower taxes, are paying LESS.

Sounds fair to me. *smirk*

Posted by: RHJunior | Jan 10, 2005 5:20:42 AM

Northern states pay an average of almost double (sometimes triple) the Federal Taxes than do Southern States, mostly because of the high cost of living, salaries required to live there, and the progressive tax structure. Northern states also pay more state and local taxes. These include, property taxes, sales and gross receipts, selective sales tax, licenses, and other taxes. These taxes are continuing to skyrocket for the North and have been doing so for quite a while, this contributes to raising the cost of living to the already very high cost of living for the North.

The top five states where the tax burden as a percent of income is the highest are: New York (12.9%), Maine (12.3%), Ohio (11.3%). Hawaii (11.3%), Rhode Island (11.1%). The US average is 10.0%.

States with higher incomes per capita, pay higher federal taxes per capita thanks to the income tax's progressive structure, which increases federal taxes per dollar of federal spending received in return. The people living in these high-income, high-tax states do not necessarily live better or save more than people in low-income, low-tax states because the cost of living is usually that much higher or more.

Have you ever wondered why this isn't the big story, why everyone hasn't already heard about this from the media? Did you ever stop to think? Did you look at all the facts? Have you done the math yet? Oh ok, well go ahead and look up the states in question (area, population, salaries, cost-of-living, etc, etc). Done yet?


Federal Spending. Californians benefitted the most, receiving $220 billion, followed by Texas ($140 billion), New York ($138 billion), Florida ($113 billion) and Pennsylvania ($90 billion). Per capita federal spending among states, meanwhile, was highest in Alaska ($12,244), Virginia ($11,163), Maryland ($10,464), New Mexico ($9,995) and North Dakota ($9,033)

The reason why the north (or northeast) pays more taxes is because your state is screwing you out of your money, and yet you still live there and then act like you're better then everyone else because you live in a state that forces you to pay high taxes. Go blue right? Are you really proud of the fact that you live in a state where you have to pay more taxes than everyone else? It blows my mind. The only thing I owe you is a laugh. Plus the cost of living up there is so high I don't know why anyone would stay. No wonder there are so many ghettos in the north.

Posted by: Some Dood | Jan 5, 2005 11:53:52 PM

These numbers were taken from the US Census web page. If one reads closely, the federal dollers received are not all entitlements. It includes everything (military, federal workers, entitlements etc). In some cases, the distribution would expected (DC has alot of federal workers, Alaska has alot of military from the cold war). In addition, given the way the Legislative branch is set up, one would expect lower population states to get a bigger piece of the pork. That is, taxes paid by each state is based on income and population, but division of the port is based on voting power (reguardless of political party). Each state has two senitors skewing the pork in favor of the low population states. If you have a problem with this you really have a problem with the constitution. The only solution is to get rid of the port.

Posted by: MikeD | Dec 27, 2004 9:09:31 PM

Interesting, but several major omissions:
How has this changed over time? Do "blue" areas do better when a Dem is in power or not?
Alos it might be reasonable to break it down into "legitimate" (ie authorized by the US constitution;) and Robin Hood activies.
A more fundamental quesetion would be at the individual level: who votes for, say "red" candidates, net govt. losers or net govt gainers?

Posted by: Paul Smith | Dec 12, 2004 11:38:43 PM

The real problem is not that some states are better at sending the pork their way, but that all of us sheeple are stupidly re-electing the same people who take it out of our states in the first place.

I'm sure that people in any state will tell you that they know how to spend money raised at home better than a bunch of bureaucrats up to several thousand miles away. Why are we continuing to let the federal government pull all that money away from local control, take a surcharge off the top and then make us beg, plead, and manuver to try and get it back?

It's time to start voting for people who won't send our money to Washington in the first place. That's why I've given up on the Demopublicans and Republicrats and just vote Libertarian down the line.

Posted by: JuneG | Dec 9, 2004 12:47:16 PM

We should expect the Lake Wobegon effect - - each state ought to receive about 120% of what it contributed( because gov't is so efficient, it can function just fine without any overhead expenses, and the money never actually flows to Israel and Egypt as Jimmy Carter told us, it all goes (overseas) to Halliburton which returns via Delaware.)

Apparently the bottom ten states average about 70%, while the top ten is 170% - - so is the dollar-for-dollar ("100%") point at about state #15 on the list? (15 states >100% .... with about 35 states < 100% ) Come on, with that FLA and OR stuff : Florida got 6 cents GREATER and Oregon came out 18 cents SHORT - - we can address the face that the ACTUAL pattern is WORSE than we'd hoped - - those red-staters are money-grabbin' whores.

Figures can't lie, but liars can ... - - now how does that ditty go?

Posted by: LarryH | Dec 6, 2004 4:47:07 AM

The corporatocracy just LOVES those red states! Not only did the majority of their populations vote for a leader whos tax cut for the top 1% which is being funded by borrowing from China, Japan, Saudi Arabi, Britain, and a handful of other countries, which is costing US taxpayers over 1 Billion dollars a day in interest alone, their church sponsored breeding program (abstinence only my eye!) is delivering the most valuable commodity for corporations: Future consumers! Of course, because of intolerance, most of the cream of that crop will end up in Blue states, because we have better education, and more tolerance for gays, itellectuals, and other "square pegs".
I wish red staters could understand that most other developing and developed countries are trying to depopulate their rural areas to save on administrative and infarastructure costs.
We blue states are subsidising their infarastructure. Of course in another decade or two at the rate things are going, China will likely eclipse the US as the worlds pre-eminent superpower. (Wal-Mart is becoming an increasingly impoertant employer in China when you look at the fact that an increasing number of the products they sell are produced there) At that point, a USSR type of breakup will become more possible, as the beauracracy of maintaining such a large country will be burdensome and even more inefficient than it already is.
Canada would be more than happy to supply us with wheat, soybeans and corn, and the beef industry will take a furthur hit as doctors advise increasing numbers our aging population to quit eating beef.
One of my favorite quotes from the Bible: "As ye sow, so shall ye reap"

Posted by: Jasmine | Dec 4, 2004 10:16:56 AM

How about adjusting for either quantities or per capita loos or gain? The recipient states all seem to have rather small populations and closely match the poorest states.

So what are you saying? Cut off the poor?

Posted by: Joe N. | Nov 30, 2004 9:49:50 AM

Corporate head offices are in blue states so that is where their pretax income is largely declared meanwhile a majority of the these companies customers and therefore sales revenues are from red states. Move the head offices out of the cities and back to where their customers are located and the blue states won't look so rich.

Posted by: Steve | Nov 27, 2004 8:04:02 PM

I would like to see the red/blue map compared to a map showing gross welfare outlay per state.

Posted by: RHerr | Nov 25, 2004 2:20:57 PM

Other items we need to factor in are things like how much of red state land is federally controlled (National Parks, Indian Reservations, Military Bases, BLM land, National Forests, etc). Those absorb a lot of tax dollars without providing significant federal revenue. Also, if not for federal subsidies for food stuffs, we could very well be at the mercy of a food cartel, similar to OPEC with petroleum. It has been noted that per capita income in Blue areas is higher than in the Red areas, so it just makes sense with our tax system the way it is, that the higher income areas will be net losers in the $ taxed, $ received category.

Posted by: Pragmatic | Nov 18, 2004 8:29:28 PM

"This is a lovely example of a misleading statistic. First off, Nevada is growing because of Las Vegas - not exactly a bastion of southern Bible Belt conservatism, and hardly a place I'll bet Red Staters want to claim as their own.

Everywhere else, high percentage change is easy to achieve when you're starting from a low base, but it masks the actual number of jobs created. New York (at just 8.9% job growth over 10 years) still created about as many new jobs (580,000) as Arizona (585,000) with 43% job growth."

NY is creating more jobs as a gross figure because it has a bigger population. The fact of that matter is that economic growth is booming in the red states because that is where people are moving. People vote with their feet.

Besides that, exit polling reveals two important facts- Republicans on average earn more money than Democrats and Republicans on average are better educated. The highest and lowest education groups supported the Democrats, but every range in between supported the Republicans. If the Blue states did secede from the Union, they would find that all of the businessmen would be fleeing to "Jesusland"- the New York Stock Exchange would become the Atlanta Stock Exchange. Merril Lynch would have its world HQ in Jacksonville or Denver. Not to mention, the Blue states would have a hard time feeding themselves. Not only does a lot of that "pork" come from Democratic senators acting in red states, but it also comes in the form of farm subsidies. I don't think you are proposing we quit growing food, are you?

The fact remains that the Red states are gaining jobs and population and the Blue states are lagging behind.

Posted by: dlac | Nov 18, 2004 1:49:23 PM

how about study on the financial drag TEXAS is on the U.S. S&Ls, Enron, Global Crossing, de lay their own energy grid. They had an tourist ad depicting themselves as a whole other country.

Posted by: rag | Nov 17, 2004 8:31:51 PM

Another key point is that the income tax structure is so wildly progressive (I'd say confiscatory) that a relative handful of high-income individuals concentrated in a few coastal cities carry much of the tax load. The top 5% of taxpayers pay about 50% of the income tax and they live places like in NY, San Fran, CT, etc.

Posted by: Chris Kinnan | Nov 17, 2004 8:15:41 AM

Just a note on DC. Its not fair to include them in the fold. The problem with DC is that they do things for the Federal Government (like supply security for the city) and then get "paid back". And I bet you they are counting that in Federal Funding. Plus poor DC has no control over their money anyway. Remember taxation without representation.

Posted by: Rosy | Nov 16, 2004 9:43:27 AM

Taxes arent everything. Its funny looking at the county map from USA Today. Doesnt look like the blue states would be eating much if it werent for all those darn red states. All the farming communities are shaded kinda red. Maybe all that money Uncle Sam gives us, not to grow to much food, has somthing to do with the offset.
And whats up with DC? HA! They voted over 90% for Kerry yet it is #1. Puts a kink in this hypothesis.

Boy do some people have short memories. Cant remember a terrorist attack during clinton's admin? Does WTC #1, the USS Cole, Marine barracks bombing, the Cobar Tower bobmings, and a few of our embassies ring a bell? Guess not.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 15, 2004 9:30:31 PM

It's funny how the depth of personal denial and deception that seems to exist in the Red states cane be so clearly demonstrated through a Tax profile. Odd how these Reds (didn't that used to mean Communist?) seem to hate government yet benefit from it so much. Oh, right, there is always the Military argument. "You wouldn't be safe if it wasn't for us housing the Military. Look at our sacrifices." Illigitimate argument since they are the financial beneficiaries of a spend oriented program. Militaries cost money, they don't generate money. Solid foriegn policy has been the traditional, and the most highly effective primary means of self defense. Funny how a team of terrorists chose to attack after Bush was in office. The nature of a terrorist cell lends itself to attacking whenever they please. Odd timing; I can't remember but I don't think they attacked when Clinton was in office.

So, those in complete denial are back in office. Funny how we accuse people of doing those very things we refuse to see ourselves doing. Bush's and conservative's accusations of tax & spend, financially devestating, big government Liberals doesn't measure up well with Bush's creation of the deepest deficite, the largest government organization the nation has ever known, and (as this article points out) spending policies that favor those who claim "small government."

From what I know about denial, they may never realize the tragic lie they keep telling themselves and the rest of us. What is gravely more tragic is that, among other ways, men and women are paying with their lives to maintain their distorted view of reality, their inability to be honest with themselves, and moral disalignment.

I will do my part to confront that denial and I hope others join in this effort.

Posted by: Ben Kirk | Nov 14, 2004 3:32:52 PM

South Dakota's presence of this top 10 list is directly related to the pork barreling of now former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

West Virginia's presence on the list is directly related to Senator Robert Byrd's being the former majority leader and former Chairman and now ranking member of the Senate Appropriation's Committee.

Arkansas has eight years of the Clinton Administration funding of long term infrastructure projects in the highway bills passed previously to thank for its presence on the list.

D.C., North Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska, and Montana all have small populations and large Federal civil government and military presense against small populations. (Alaska also has the largess of retiring Appropriation's Committee Chairman Stevens and the basing of the Bush Administration's missile defense batteries aimed at North Korean ICBM's to thank.)

Point in fact these states listed immediately above have fewer people in them than the number of people who voted for George W. Bush inside NY City and surrounding counties.

Alabama has the US Army Aviation and Missile Command in Huntsville as well as Ft. Rutckers (sp?)where the majority of the US military's helicopter pilots learn to fly.

I find amusing that the blue staters are bitching about not having to base a couple armored divisions in their back yards like we do in Texas or having to put up with supersonic military jts in their air space like the folks out in the Dakota's do.

It is kind of hard to exersize a tank company (14 tanks for the uninformed) let alone a brigade (56) or division (224) inside the New York City limits.

Posted by: Trent Telenko | Nov 13, 2004 10:00:13 PM


The state numbers are interesting.

But if you calculate the subsidy at the COUNTY level, do Blue counties subsidize Red counties? Or is it the other way around?

Posted by: Dave Greene (BaySense) | Nov 13, 2004 11:02:07 AM

My Epiphany since 11/3:

Imagine, if you will, its January 2005. There's an
important press conference called outside the US
Senate floor, no one is quite sure why. Finally after
much suspense, out comes a delegation of Senators from
the New England region. And with the exception of
Jeffords, who's an independent, they're the
Republicans! Why have all these chowder-heads taken
precious media attention on this chilly day in the
Republic of Jesus? Is it to announce the first annual
Senate clambake? Or to collectively pray for the
return of the "Curse of the Bambino", which they
privately loved (I'm a Yankee fan, and this is MY
epiphany, dammit)?

At long last, Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island
steps up to the mic and says, "Due to the stark
cultural shift manifested in this last election, I and
my colleagues have no choice but to qualify the
electoral map and leap over the aisle to the
Democratic party. We're only Red on the outside, due
to our weathered New England faces. But we're
sensible and moderate and Blue on the inside!! In the
interest of checks and balances, and the civil rights
of our own lobster-fed asses, we all officially bolt
the Republicans!!"

After a long shocked silence, Vermont Senator Jim
Jeffords takes the podium. "I became an Independent
in 2001 because this president failed on the agenda he
promised us. And though I've voted with the Dems on
several issues since, they still won't let me into the
Democratic steam room. I hear it gets pretty wild in
there!! Also I'm quite lonely in the "Independent
Coffee Lounge" in the Hart Office Building. Bernie
Sanders won't share the cinnabons. I thereby complete
my political metamorphosis and become a Donkey!"

Senators Snowe and Collins of Maine step up to the
mic. "After having dated several Republican Senators
over the years, we've turned lesbian. Olympia and I
announce our wedding, and consequently our switching
of parties. We're moving into a quaint lighthouse
near Augusta. We plan to spend weekends parking near
the Bush compound in Kennebunkport and flamboyantly

And the dominoes continue to fall. The next day,
Senator McCain becomes Independent, moderate
Republican congressman and Governors everywhere turn
over, and there's a massive revolt all over the land.
The Senate is now controlled by the Dems, and The
Mighty W is running scared......

Can you see it? Could ya? I know its a
fantasy, but I can dream can't I?

Or is it really that unrealistic? Southern Democratic
politicians and voters alike have been so eager to
align themselves with the solid racist South, and turn
GOP. Why can't the moderates on the other side come
full circle? They must make it fun to be a Republican
in DC. Lots o' money, I'll bet. Call, email or write your moderate Republican and tell 'em: Bolt!!!!

John T. Prestianni
(a demoralized and frightened Northern citizen)

P.S. Since the color "Red" is now identified with the
GOP, I suggest we revive the old slogan, "Better Dead
than Red"!!!!!

Posted by: John T. Prestianni | Nov 12, 2004 10:58:36 PM

We need to spread the word to take the red states off the dole.

Posted by: Jennifer | Nov 12, 2004 5:19:17 PM

This is a lovely example of a misleading statistic. First off, Nevada is growing because of Las Vegas - not exactly a bastion of southern Bible Belt conservatism, and hardly a place I'll bet Red Staters want to claim as their own.

Everywhere else, high percentage change is easy to achieve when you're starting from a low base, but it masks the actual number of jobs created. New York (at just 8.9% job growth over 10 years) still created about as many new jobs (580,000) as Arizona (585,000) with 43% job growth.

Posted by: phatcat43 | Nov 12, 2004 2:13:38 PM

Blue states severely lag in job growth over the last 10 years (

The top 10 job creators are red states

1 Nevada 58.6% 1 5.4% 1 4.3% 975.6
2 Arizona 42.8% 10 0.6% 4 1.8% 1,941.4
3 Florida 31.6% 7 1.8% 6 1.7% 6,359.7
4 Utah 31.0% 20 -2.0% 13 0.6% 893.6
5 Idaho 29.5% 9 0.7% 25 0.2% 461.9
6 Colorado 26.4% 48 -6.4% 47 -1.5% 1,804.4
7 Texas 24.5% 33 -3.1% 35 -0.5% 7,772.4
8 Montana 23.8% 4 3.1% 8 1.0% 315.0
9 Georgia 22.6% 40 -4.4% 34 -0.3% 3,259.4
10 Virginia

7 out of the bottom 10 are blue states.

41 New York 8.9% 41 -4.5% 36 -0.6% 7,022.9
42 Indiana 8.7% 35 -3.7% 31 -0.2% 2,492.2
43 Pennsylvania 8.6% 31 -3.1% 40 -0.7% 4,875.6
44 Alabama 8.5% 39 -4.2% 39 -0.7% 1,523.0
45 Michigan 8.0% 50 -7.0% 49 -1.8% 3,731.4
46 Ohio 7.6% 47 -5.6% 45 -1.3% 4,606.3
47 Illinois 7.6% 44 -4.7% 41 -0.8% 5,003.8
48 Hawaii 7.0% 6 2.1% 5 1.8% 458.9
49 Mississippi 6.8% 37 -3.8% 29 -0.2% 878.9
50 Connecticut 5.1%

Posted by: dlac | Nov 12, 2004 2:00:01 PM

kerry is a thinking man, he isn't going to let some dogma rule his life. it sounds like he lives by much of what the catholic church teaches, but if he disagrees with something, he is going to follow it. he isn't going to blindly follow something he doesn't agree with. that's to be admired, i'm a catholic and as it happens i don't agree with everything the church teaches but that doesn't mean i love god any less. besides, religion shouldn't be part of this, i shouldn't have to reiterate our need for seperation of church and state.

Posted by: john | Nov 11, 2004 10:21:21 PM

man i hate kerry! what kind of self-respecting person says he will be true to his country when he can't even be true to his own religion? i mean he says he's catholic and goes on and on about that but then he says that he is for abortion. ding ding HELLO!!! that's AGAINST HIS OWN RELIGION!!!!! i just want to yell "hey kerry your village called, they want their idiot back!"

Posted by: rachel | Nov 11, 2004 4:52:44 PM

Hey Red States, give US back our money!

Posted by: Eric | Nov 11, 2004 1:46:52 PM

Just like a red(state)neck. Blame the guy whose paying for the bill. I say every dollar taxed should return to the state that pays the taxes, not support the droolers and knuckle-draggers from the former Confederacy.

Posted by: M. Able | Nov 11, 2004 7:48:06 AM

The reason the blue states pay more is because they vote for idiots like kerry that tax them out the yang. Now they are angry? If you have a headache quit hitting yourself in the head with the hammer. Dont vote for tax increases that eventually get wasted, I have been to new york and DC, everything costs more, I couldnt drive the cars I do and live in the house I do in those states, taxes are too high! Its your fault for voting for the crap not ours!

Posted by: red-state | Nov 10, 2004 3:43:25 PM

God, the South is stupid.

Posted by: dave | Nov 10, 2004 12:02:03 PM

Why should military bases not be considered pork? Miliary procurement, from basing to ball pens, is directly affected by Congressional legislation. Weapons systems or bases the military says it doesn't even need are often kept alive by Congress purely so they can bring home some bacon.

But, hey, if Red staters want to feel better because we put nuclear weapons in their states PRECISELY because there was nothing valuable there for the Russians to hit to begin with then they can go RIGHT ahead.

As for being poorer and having less people -- these two variables has been what fuels economic backwardness for centuries. Seeing they are against providing support for the poor, all I can say is that the less spent on funding hospitals in rural Alabama the better.

Jesus can provide, not me.

Posted by: Jeff | Nov 9, 2004 12:42:11 PM

"Where do you people think your food is grown? Your military is based? Your power is generated? Your equipment is manufactured and assembled? Red states subsidize blue state lifestlye."

Wow, MEC2, you mean they do all that for free?

That the blue states (which do, believe it or not, produce goods and power) don't pay non-tax money for these things when they get them from red states? Terrific -- where do I sign up for my free car? My free food? All this time I've been paying for these things, taking money down to a store and handing it over, when MEC2 tells me the red states are providing it to me for free! Man, talk about a letdown...

Posted by: QrazyQat | Nov 6, 2004 5:40:53 PM

This isn't proving your point.
You misunderstand this data.

>Check out real tax expenditures per capita

Read the title of the graphic dummy.
This is 'State & Local Government' expendenditures.
NOT federal expenditures.

Duh. Most 'blue states' here have state-income taxes and spend more money on their citizens and communities.

The 'Commonwealth' of Massachusetts takes 4 1/2 % from every paycheck I earn, but that 4 1/2 % pays for everything tangible benefit that I see from Government. I pay the Feds five times that and I get nothing for it.

Taxachusetts. I wouldn't live anywhere else

Posted by: bobo | Nov 3, 2004 6:00:13 PM

C'mon do you think Welfare, Education, Housing and urban Development, Social Security payments are even factored into those doctored number. They are Nationwide programs and not allocated individually by congress to states.
Check out real tax expenditures per capita

Posted by: SH | Nov 3, 2004 1:45:49 PM

I find it funny how quickly the right-wingers have gone on the defensive with this one. Well I guess I will use one of their more popular "catch phrases" on them like "quit making excuses".

I also find it funny how the people who complain the most about federal taxes are the ones who benefit the most. I guess next time instead of complaining about some liberal in New York or California you should thank them for having paved roads. Hey, they can import their food from other countries if needed but where can the red states get the money to pay for it's infrastructure if it weren't for the Federal government?

It is our patriotic duty as citizens to pay these taxes, after all freedom isn't free.

Paying your taxes is part of being an American and supporting your country. I guess I would suggest to you conservatives who are always whining about taxes (using another one of your popular catch phrases), "America, love it or leave it"! If you don't like paying your taxes move to Mexico or somewhere else with lower taxes.

Posted by: Liberal | Sep 29, 2004 9:05:21 AM

This is so funny. Yeah, us people in those red states should be so thankfull that are small roads are replaced by large federal freeways, which then have thousands of semi-trucks driving goods to the red states, which make driving much more dangerous. Gosh, thank you, thank you. Oh, and thank you for all that wonderfull government land, which we can't charge property tax on, which is the local governments main source of funding. Thank you again for denying my county services. And gosh, it's so nice of you to give those agricultural subsidies. I mean, you wouldn't be doing it to maintain a stable food supply for the entire country. Nope, it's just to provide this country hick some welfare money. Gosh, your right, it's rediculous how I don't appreaciate all these great things the government does for me. All just for me and my fellow statesmen.

Posted by: IdahoKid | Sep 29, 2004 8:25:43 AM

well, i never claimied all the reasons those states receive money are "good." some of them politically sound, though- which means it's silly to complain about them because no serious politician will ever stick his or her neck out that far. ever.
personally, i think many of the reasons are antiquated/vestigial, or at the very least uberrationalized.
i can name one hundred countries that are worse off than california would be if it was its own country, because of its combination of wealth, natural resources, and strategic locale. but i'm not going to suggest it secede anytime soon. the "your state owes mine because of fiscal imbalance" game is really silly (the only thing sillier is the "your state owes mine because of cultural imbalance" argument of pinbot and mec2).

a chart like this can serve a couple purposes though. it's nice to bring up around people who do complain about high taxes but live in the places that benefit most. the money may not be going to the complainer directly, but i'm sure it's going to help him or her somehow more than it will help people in other states. whatever the money is supporting (even if it benefits the whole nation) will likely benefit the locals even more (sure, we all like to visit national parks, but we can't all work at them. and how many support towns go under when a military base closes down?). yes, yes- all very simplistic, but fun to talk about nonetheless.

now if someone can just tell me why we pay a family of five in nebraska 30,000 a year to run a farm that doesn't grow anything when we could help out God knows how many families in Harlem for the same amount of money, i'll be all set....


Posted by: Jacob | Sep 28, 2004 7:56:42 PM

With 50-80% of some Western states owned by the Fed Gov compared to next to nothing in a state like mine (MN), these numbers are essentially meaningless. This "study" speaks more to the power of Congressional seniority than anything else and should be used by all of us who advocate term limits.

Posted by: Gene Eliasen | Sep 28, 2004 1:07:29 PM

I have argued about Bushs cronyism and fiscal irresponsibility til I'm blue in the face. At this point, I actually beleive that Karl Rove and the Spin Doctor squad have hired people just to come out on the net and lie repeatedly.

Bush repeats himself til you think he might be telling the truth. Bush did it about Saddam having connections to Al Queda, about the 550 specific "known" WMD sites, and he still does it today. Repeating something does not make it eventually true. Bush has actually managed to lie to himself so well, and so repeatedly, he really beleives what he says is true. (usually) Every now and again you can see a little reality spill in when he says things like.. " Abu Guh ... Rape". Seek the truth. Bush is a LIAR.

*10 Nobel Prize winning economists have come togeteher to write an open letter to the public supporting John Kerry.

*30 of 35 countries polled in a University of Maryland study strongly favor John Kerry as our next President. World opinion doesn't have a vote, but it does have an effect on our level of respect world wide.

*In the debate of 2000 Bush made big promises about health care for all, and hasn't come through in four years, but he swears THIS time it will work. He also said we shouldn't be out on "Nation Building" missions and that we needed to strengthen our ties to our allies. Well, Bush has definately weakened our ties to our allies, and he is certainly taking us on "Nation Building" missions. Lie, Lie, Lie. Easy as breathin for most folks.

*Bush turned the largest budget surplus in history (5 billion) into the biggest budget deficit in history. (422 billion and counting)

*Bushs lies and policys fueled the biggest protest of a political convention in history when 500,000 people protested the 2004 Republican National Convention.

*No Osama after 3 years of fumbled attempts.

Lots of links supporting these FACTs here:

under "Rocking the vote" on September 13th

That muddy guy must work for Karl Rove, or at least be on his Christmas list:)


Posted by: Independant Voter | Sep 28, 2004 12:14:14 PM

I think Jacob hit the nail on the head. There are good reasons why these low income, low density states receive federal funding out of proportion to the averages. It's just ironic that they are the ones that bitch the most about high taxes and wasteful federal spending. Sadly, their electoral power is vastly greater than their population or fiscal contributions to the collective wealth of the United States would indicate.

Posted by: Common Sense | Sep 28, 2004 10:00:26 AM

Nothing will change as long as the non-population-based Senate can pork everything up.

IMHO we should abolish the Senate and the Electoral college and go completely population-based.

Then again, I live in a large city. I would benefit from free agri-trade, but the Senate will never let that happen.

Posted by: Otis Wildflower | Sep 28, 2004 9:45:03 AM


I don't think anyone thinks it was only in the last four years under Bush that this iniquity has existed in how federal dollars are doled it. It has been happening since probably before the civil war. It is pork barrel politics, pure and simple. Small population states have a disproportionate electoral advantage in presidential elections, and also in the U.S. Senate. A political scientist really has to struggle to justify the workings of a representative democracy in which the 800,000 or less citizens in South Dakota yield the same power in the Senate as the 60 plus million citizens in California. Or, for that matter, how Gore won the 2000 election by 500,000 votes, but lost the electoral college.

Hence, surprise, surprise, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and other sparsely populated states receive great federal largesse. Argue all you want about the excuses for it. In the end, its still a massive handout. It is just irksome that those receiving the handout seem so inclined to hypocritically attack the evil of dependence on the federal government.

Posted by: Midwesterner | Sep 28, 2004 8:37:57 AM

If anyone is drawing the conclusion that Bush changed the federal dole that much in four years, well that person is obviously a bit silly.

I would argue that the implicit conclusion by this information is merely a somewhat lighthearted jab at the people in traditionally conservative states (granted-using the most recent election results isn't the best measure of this) who complain of having to pay higher taxes. it works on a common-sense basis, but there are enough other factors to explain it at least somewhat.

yes, amongst those factors are the two you mentioned- lower income and more land. the federal institutions and grain belt reasons cited earlier are amongst the factors too. i think the logical leftist argument to then be made would be: "Why are the lower income income states, who pay less taxes, complaining about paying higher taxes?" and "Why are the most federally funded states, whose economies are helped directly and indirectly by the so-called pork barrel, complaining about federal government spending?" even if their reasons are more "noble" because they involve defense, it's still at least interesting to note that they're the ones benefiting most. and it is possible to do so without assuming that this "problem" starts and ends with this president.

there are a million reasons to hate Bush, why quibble by trying to force this one into that bunch?

Posted by: Jacob | Sep 28, 2004 6:15:02 AM

A moderate-to-liberal Republican from Mobile, Alabama, who intends to vote for John Kerry.

I have tired of all the Republican twisting and distortions. Yet, now I see that the Democrats are at it too. Implicit in this Red State/Blue State report (and its editorial title) is that the Bush administration and congressional Republicans dole out federal funds to reward the states that vote for Bush.


Each state listed in the top 10 for federal funding per tax dollar paid is either in the bottom 10 of per capita income or is one of the bottom 5 of population per square mile. Hence, lesser taxes paid either based on lesser income or much lesser people per square mile.
And, the opposite is true for your "Blue States"

That is the only conclusion I can draw from this report. And, I believe it is disingenuous to draw the conclusion you've implicitly drawn based solely on data showing federal dollars spent per tax dollars paid.


Posted by: Perry | Sep 28, 2004 5:24:55 AM

while there are a lot of military bases in the big red states, i would say the 184,234,234 military bases in california more than make up for them:) and there's still enough empty wilderness there to throw down a few square miles of missile silos and nuclear waste.

and not all blue states are completely lifestyle-subsidized by red states. one example would be connecticut- home to military bases, nuclear power plants, and some of those american indian reservations. of course, connecticut's american indian reservations actually MAKE money for the federal government....

Posted by: Jacob | Sep 28, 2004 5:04:48 AM

This so-called 'study' is utter nonsense. While the raw numbers may be correct, it really shows nothing.

I grew up in the North Dakota and my parents still live there. I will give you the 5 main reasons that state tops the list:
1) It has two major air force bases in a state with only 600,000 people.
2) Like all western states, it has a lot of land owned by the federal government under conservation (opposed by many residents), in American Indian reservations, and in national parks.
3) It is highly rural, therefore highways (which benefit the transport of goods across the country) cost a lot more money per person as compared to states like New York.
4) It is a farm state that receives a lot of farm aid, which is probably the only major legitimate issue from this 'study'.
5) It's population is elderly as all its young people leave for more urban areas. Therefore a higher percentage are on Medicare & SS.

Bottom line, the bases would exist somewhere anyway. The roads are mostly necessary to allow easy transport across the US. The federal lands stuff is pushed by environmentalists and is actually opposed by the majority of the residents since it effectively eliminates a lot of growth possibilities. The average age of the state is no different in other retirement areas like Florida or Arizona. The farm subsidies are the only real unique federal government largesse to the state.

Posted by: Kory | Sep 27, 2004 11:38:45 PM


Where do you people think your food is grown? Your military is based? Your power is generated? Your equipment is manufactured and assembled? Red states subsidize blue state lifestlye.

Look at property values and cost of living in the urban parts of liberal blue America - what's a 2000 square foot house in San Francisco cost? How about NYC? That cost of living premium, which is paid by consumers of blue state products in red states, also slides you into a higher tax bracket. Someone earning 85k to do a job in Des Moines will have to earn what, twice that in San Francisco? Welcome to a whole new tax bracket with NO real gain in socioeconomic status.

Red states make life in blue states possible. They pay less taxes, you get urban lifestlye, fashion, culture - it isn't free, folks.

Posted by: MEC2 | Sep 27, 2004 11:22:22 PM

Small correction: I believe you are wrong when you say that Oregon and Florida were the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election. Oregon had a Bush-Gore difference of 6765 votes out of a total of 1,530,549, which by my math comes to .4%. New Mexico, on the other hand, had a difference of 366 votes out of 598605 total, which is .06% of the total. Either by raw numbers or by percentage, New Mexico was tighter than Oregon in 2000.

As you noted, New Mexico is one of the big winners in this analysis, and does not come out even like Oregon or Florida.

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 27, 2004 10:10:19 PM

Where are the spending totals for each state?

What is the federal payout to NY, or NJ, compared with the spending for ND, or NM?

I highly doubt that NM gets more federal spending than NY.

Anyone can jack with numbers to make a point, but its a point, and not a picture.

Posted by: John | Sep 27, 2004 9:25:20 PM

I do not believe that Hawaii is not in the top ten as far as fed dollars received compared to tax dollars paid out. They have numerous military bases, there is a multi billion dollar renovation of military housing, and the island is going to base a stryker brigade at Schofield Barracks. Hawaii's economy has always benefited from the military especially since Daniel Inouye is one of the big shots on the Military Appropriations Comittee

Posted by: Steven Conner | Sep 27, 2004 9:19:40 PM

Let's be honest here. What this data illustrates is that the red states, although purportedly against big government and federal subsidies, actually rely heavily on the handouts from the federal government to stay afloat - funded by the blue states. The most recent farm bill was a prime example of pork barrel handouts to these red states. Marry this data with the data about state by state income levels, educational achievement and crime and you see that the red states are almost third world countries in comparison to their blue state counterparts. The red states are the true welfare queens, and yet they still have the gall to pontificate about how bad government handouts as they cash their checks.

Posted by: Midwesterner | Sep 27, 2004 7:37:50 PM

If the victor gets the spoils then why did Texas get only .93 per dollar. Bush was the governor of Texas, so that argument is shot. Texas has no personal state income tax either if that has anything to do with it. True the states with a high ratio on the list have low population vs high federal involvement like parks and military. Texas covers alot of red.

Posted by: tim | Sep 27, 2004 6:11:47 PM

Those are some pretty amazing statistics. I wonder what the entire figure is for the amount of tax dollars made by blue and given to red would be. There is another site I just saw called that has a lot of similar types of info. They also have breakdowns on social and industrial issues. Anyway, these sorts of things will shatter the idea that republicans are the 'fiscally responsible' of the two parties. Just look at the subsidies!

Posted by: Casey | Sep 27, 2004 4:24:14 PM

Could it be that higher educated/higher paid individuals tend to:

1. Avoid living in flyover country
2. Think 'blue'
3. Pay more taxes
4. Not whine about it as much as they should

Here in the Silicon Valley, I know quite a few radical-libertarian "taxes over my dead body" types which were born and raised in the Midwest. The funny thing is they don't recognize the irony of complaining about taxes when much of their early lifestyle was supported by the same taxes he's paying now.

Posted by: seeker | Sep 27, 2004 4:24:01 PM

I wrote:

Maybe the states with fewer citizens simply need more federal funding because of a smaller tax base?


Why is the solution always more federal funding? We're deficit spending with how many Trillions in debt...why not work on LESS federal funding?

I'm against federal spending. My point was that perhaps the states receiving the most federal funds need more than their "fair share" because they have fewer taxpayers than the other states.

The five smallest states made the top ten, and the two largest states made the bottom ten. I don't think this is a coincidence.

Posted by: David Tribble | Sep 27, 2004 2:31:24 PM

On the Florida, Oregon idea. Oregon being having more room per capita than Florida would theoretically have to work harder, per person, to meet the same demand of dollar for dollar.

While Florida and it's denizens are divided into a few subclasses with large blocks of voting Republicans. But the infrastructure, the workers of Florida vote predominately Democrat. Seniors often vote Republican. They get the best televised PR. They no longer work, and most are feeding from the trough. The filthy rich that have moved here or lived here and buys up all the beachfront property stood the best chance of a benefit from Bush's tax cuts. Count on Florida to go red even if all the infrastructure voted Democrat.

Oregon being made up of less Seniors, and totally rich per capita has to work harder to make that dollar for dollar. I would suggest you could expect to see a blue victory there. With less citizens and the returns for input less feelings could be for a change economically if the war emtions aren't played out.

Posted by: IXLNXS | Sep 27, 2004 2:29:30 PM

First, one should probably look at the voter totals in New Mexico before saying Florida and Oregon were the closest states in the election.

Second, it seems a bit silly to include DC in this list, as its budget is controlled almost completely by the Federal Government. It is obviously more dependent on the Federal Government than a State Government for funding is NOT a state.

Posted by: Jacob | Sep 27, 2004 11:42:57 AM

NM has a small population and large federal government programs mostly related to defense, energy, and the environment plus a large percentage of NM is federally-owned land. So the fact the federal government spends money in NM isn't surprising. How much of that money actually makes its way into NM citizens' pockets is another story.

ND used to house thousands of missle silos and probably still has a defense establishment and is a lot smaller than NM in terms of population. But it's probably those unbelievable farm subsidies that give ND citizens such a nice return on their federal tax investment - cash returned directly to the farmers for growing uneeded grain and/or not growing grain at all. What a swell deal! I bet the other Grain Belt states would have had similar numbers if you excluded their largest city. A map showing ROI by county would be instructive.

The downside of a bigger ratio is that the government is in your face more - Nevada's numbers would go up quite a bit if they fully embraced Yucca Mountain and actively promoted using their wastelands for waste-disposal and other unpopular purposes. For some reason, they don't seem to want that.

Posted by: Bryan Bingham | Sep 27, 2004 11:42:52 AM

What's the problem? The blue-state liberals who want high marginal income tax rates and bigger government are getting exactly what they asked for.

Posted by: fabrizio del dongo | Sep 27, 2004 11:42:02 AM

When you look at "Change in Spending per Dollar of Tax", instead of FY2002 Expenditures per Dollar of Taxes, you get a somewhat different picture:

Top 10 (increases of $0.56 down to $0.18): Alaska, North Dakota, Hawaii, D.C., West Virginia, South Dakota, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Vermont (highest to lowest)

Bottom 10 (decreases of -$0.05 to -$0.27): Colorado, Massachusettes, New Mexico, Maine, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island (biggest decrease to least decrease)

Posted by: benbakelaar | Sep 27, 2004 11:41:42 AM

There is an old saying in statistics, GI, GO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. This analysis
ignores so many factors it is worthless.

Take a state like Alabama with a population of just over 4 million. It has a couple of big ticket items such as the Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA) and the US Army Aviation and Missile Command, that is part of Redstone Arsenal, in Huntsville. Fort Rucker is the primary flight training base for the Army. Fort McClellan is being shut down and untold millions are being spent on the disposal of chemical weapons and other ordnance. The Air Force has Maxwell-Gunter AFB.

A small population with a lot of Federal spending (8 on the list) but much of it tied to the military and space.

Posted by: Rick | Sep 27, 2004 11:35:38 AM

This is actually a natural result of the manner in which electoral college and senate votes are apportioned. Because people in red states are over-represented because of their senators, apportioned arbitrarily based on geographic borders, and because of their consequent bonus votes in the electoral college, people in red states exert a disproportionate amount of influence over the federal government compared to their population. It's natural, then, that this privileged citizen class in the red states would be able to leech money out of the underrepresented people in the blue states.

The solution? Abolish the senate, and remove the votes based on senators from the electoral college. The result would be representation apportioned according to population, which would in turn result in a fairer distribution of tax benefits compared to tax burdens.

Posted by: TruthSpeaker | Sep 27, 2004 11:33:26 AM

Full reports:

Posted by: Webgrunt | Sep 27, 2004 11:15:51 AM

A point worth considering is that urban areas typically act as marketplaces for the efforts and products of the entire country, including rural areas. How much of the stuff for sale in New York is actually made in New York? How much food production goes on in New York. Is it a self-sufficent state? I don't think so. Another example. Hollywood may pay a lot of taxes, but where are the consumers of it's craft? All over the place.

Seriously, if this analysis was actualy signifigant, wouldn't the blue states be inclined to vote red? At the very least, you'd think there would be a little less blue outrage every time a tax cut goes through. I suppose it fits well with the classic sterotypes though Republicans are stupid and evil; Democrats are sophisticated, yet gullible.

Posted by: Pinbot | Sep 27, 2004 11:07:06 AM

Citizens Against Government Waste ( ) has a Pork Report to show where the dollars are flowing for silly/wasteful projects... That might help the analysis some. Btw - is a FANTASTIC link! Thank you for posting that, David/Leonard.

Posted by: Dee | Sep 27, 2004 11:05:48 AM