April 15th is but 10 days away, and that gives us an opportunity to post a giant tax graphic.  Via Visual Economics comes this ginormous US map showing the total Federal tax dollar allotment made and received on a per state basis.The biggest states send and receive back the greatest allocation of dollars.

What really matters is the per capita breakdown; you can find those in the table at the bottom of each map

VE notes:

The federal taxes paid per capita vary widely by state. New England has some of the largest tax payments per capita while the states with the lowest per-capita payments are scattered elsewhere in the country.

The place with highest federal tax payments per capita is Washington, D.C., with $11,582. The state with the second-highest federal tax payments is Connecticut with $11,522 per capita. The state with the third-highest federal tax payments is New Jersey with $9,902 per capita. The fourth-highest federal tax payments per capita come from Massachusetts with $9,792. The state with fifth-highest federal tax payments per capita is Maryland with $8,812.

The state with the lowest federal tax payments is Mississippi with $4,281 per capita. The state with the second-lowest federal tax payments is Louisiana with $4,565 per capita. The state with the third-lowest federal tax payments per capita is West Virginia with $4,861. The state with the fourth-lowest federal tax payments per capita is Arkansas with $5,030. The state with the fifth-lowest federal tax payments per capita is New Mexico with $5,153.

Surprising that many of the states that have the highest net tax gain are in favor of less government spending, while the states that reap the least per capita are more government spending . . .

Click for ginormous map:

Category: Digital Media, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

32 Responses to “United States Federal Tax Dollars”

  1. socaljoe says:

    Karl Marx would be happy…. give according to your means… receive according to your needs (more or less). DC seems to be the most obvious outlier (no surprise).

  2. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    “Surprising that many of the states that have the highest net tax gain are in favor of less government spending, while the states that reap the least per capita are more government spending . . .”

    Regarding the former: They’re still poor, despite the perpetual handouts. I hope they get what they’re asking for.


  3. rktbrkr says:

    Based on total congressional representation (total sens & reps):

    9/10 states with the biggest federal cash inflows are Republican and 7/10 with the biggest cash outflows are Democratic.

    IMO the Republicans are hypocrites when it comes to spending cuts and balanced budgets, hence their silence when Bush ran the table with 8 years of record setting deficits. They only sprang to life after Bush flew the economic plane into the mountain and left Obama to work out the crisis. Clinton had the last balanced budget.

  4. wally says:

    2/3 of all states are welfare queens.

    The remaining few of us are supporting your fat asses.

  5. Irwin Fletcher says:

    And we thank you Wally.

  6. RandyClayton says:

    Without an operational definition for how these numbers are calculated I find these representations less than useful. By what method are these numbers determined? We can assume direct transfer payments to individuals are a big part. What else and how is it counted?

    What about tax payments by corporations? If a corp headquartered in Illinois, say Boeing, with most employees and activities in other states receives government largess is it credited to Illinois, or proportionally to all the states where Boeing has economic activity?

  7. Lugnut says:

    New Jersey, the gift that keeps on giving. Third highest payments per state ($9,902), lowest state in tax dollars received versus paid (.61). And 90% of those dollars are strictly going into Newark, Camden, Paterson, and other perpetual poverty hell-holes. Why do I still live here?

  8. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    The source material for the chart is from taxfoundation.org. You can probably find the methodology and metrics there. Then again, maybe not.

    If recent reports are true, there are few, if any tax payments by made major US corporations in the first place. Maybe Boeing (their corporate lips firmly attached to their own government tit), hasn’t found the loophole(s), but I doubt that.

  9. tagyoureit says:

    Lugnut, look at it this way: our home state is in First Place! $9,902 x .61= $6,040, with 90% ($5,436) to ‘hell-holes’ (also known as cities populated by people). So really, 55% of the total to people (cue Spinäl Tap) livin’ in a hell hole. I wonder who gets the other 45%?

    Täp into America!

  10. dompazz says:

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but I think the ratios are inversed.

    Look at SC. Received/Paid = 1.35 on the chart. Colors indicate they pay 20,000-40,000 million and receive 0-10,000. I fail to see how (0 to 10)/(20 to 40) can be anything but less that 1.

  11. louiswi says:

    One of the more interesting “socialists” states is Alaska. Alaska pretends to be this fierce make it on your own state led by the fierce Palin but there are two glaring pieces that don’t add up and should give all pause.

    First is the welfare aspect as displayed above. The second and in my view more important is that the United States of America purchased the entire state from Russia (known as Seward’s folly). The entire state belongs to the citizens of the lower 48-paid for lock, stock and barrel. Since oil was discovered, the windfall has been bestowed upon the Alaska residents as-you guessed it, a welfare payment to every man woman and child. Payments are from the “Alaska Permanent Fund”-you can google it.

    My point: Alaska should be paying these monies to the lower 48-the rightful owners.

  12. cesium-137 says:

    Let’s add them up….57.82. Hmmm, I’m no mathemascientist, but shouldn’t they add-up to 50? Where’d that 7.82 come from? Oh, right, our kids’ sucky future.

  13. wannabe says:

    Wow, I thought this was the one place on the IntarWebs where we carefully follow the data whereever it leads us without deciding beforehand where that will be.

    I’m not a Grand Data Inquisitor like you guys and even I can see that this is a thinly veiled Daily Kos/Democratic Underground style partisan snark attack. I saw the exact same crap talking points over there 2 or more years ago. Surprized to see them here but I guess that explains the fascination with the Daily Show. Anyone with sense knows that the states are not blue and red, they are varying shades of purple. So in order for this to mean anything at all the inflows and outflows would have to be indexed to actual votes, which they’re not, which makes it practically worthless.

    The Grand Poobah of lefty economists says you can’t trust the Tax Foundation, BTW.

    But I guess if it doesn’t support their POV, and they are saying it, then it must be true. But what if it doesn’t NOT support their point of view? Should we trust it then? I’m so confused!


    BR: Its data — is there an issue with the actual data? Is it wrong?

  14. DL says:

    “Surprising that many of the states that have the highest net tax gain are in favor of less government spending, while the states that reap the least per capita are more government spending”.


    Perhaps. But one must consider the influence of the Senate (two senators per state, regardless of population) on allocation of financial resources, and also the way that presidents are elected (via the electoral college, not by popular vote).

  15. socaljoe says:

    Looks to me like the states with the highest per capita incomes are paying most in per capita taxes (more or less) and the states with the lowest incomes (more or less) are receiving most benefits… no surprise here… it’s what one would expect to see in a late stage empire which places more emphasis on wealth redistribution over wealth creation.

  16. wannabe says:

    BR: Its data — is there an issue with the actual data? Is it wrong?

    It’s facially insufficient to draw the kinds of conclusions that your readers and the Kos kidz have drawn (and that you so cleverly only hint at). Whether it’s wrong or not is between you, Paul Krugman and The Tax Foundation.


    BR: I am concerned with the data — not how other people spin it . . .

  17. jack says:

    louiswi, if we subcribe to your premise that alaska belongs to the lower 48 beacuse we paid the russians in cash, wouldn’t we also have to say that the entire west belongs to the east coast due to the lousiana purchase?

  18. RadioFlyer says:

    @cesium-137, they’re ratios and they don’t necessarily have to “add up to 50″. In fact, when summing ratios in a comparison like this, they usually don’t sum to the same number of samples in the comparison.

  19. northendmatt says:

    Not really that surprising, given the fact that the politicians from those states, while assailing the federal government out of one side of their mouths, ask for more money from it with the other. (See, for example, the many letters written by Republicans asking for federal agencies to send stimulus funds to their districts, public denouncement of said stimulus not withstanding.)

  20. northendmatt says:

    Followed that Krugman link and ended up at a page from 2008, with the Tax Foundation railing that the US needs to be more like Ireland and Greece. You can’t make this stuff up…

  21. rktbrkr says:

    We shoulda bought Greenland it’s gonna be another Alaska…

    Following World War II, the United States developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland, and in 1946 the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000, but Denmark refused to sell.


  22. techy says:

    why are we still surprised that repulican states are place where rednecks live….poor education, low income, racism(heck they became republican because of the segregation, they used to be social democrats).

    you need to ask yourself what kind of industries are there in the south(they used to be farmers hence they use to love slave labor).

    I have been living here in the deep south the last 10 years…I dont even discuss politics with them anymore…its a waste of time since they say they are libertarians…but actually they are religious rights with color blindness….kind of weird even most of the college educated ones are like that….maybe years of upbringing with tunnel vision does that to you.

    some of the honest ones did proclaim that for them religion is the only truth…bigger than the country and if needed they will go to another civil war.

  23. Jack says:

    @Lugnut and tagyoureit:

    Have we been snookied?


  24. lalaland says:

    This is exactly the problem with information and how it is disseminated in this country. BR puts up a post from the Tax Foundation; a commenter takes issue with the source, equating the map with left-wing media sites like Kos, etc.

    Commenter then posts a link to Krugman, showing how the Tax Foundation spins data by using what corporations could pay, maximally, rather than the usual tax rates (no matter the loopholes). So the commenter has accused BR of being similar to the leftwing bloggers, while proving the data comes from a source with a rightwing agenda. BR asks if the data is wrong; no answer.

    That, in a nutshell, is America right now. And I agree; the Senate is unfortunately dominated by rural states, and the agricultural subsidies in this country would make a welfare queen* blush.

    *by which I mean a stereotyped Newt Gingrich era welfare queen, not the white rural Americans who receive the bulk of welfare payments. And to the Jersey contingent: we tried sending you money for the wealthy burbs to use to travel to NYC but your idiot governor rejected it.

  25. Thor says:

    lalala – Amen to that!

  26. DrungoHazewood says:

    Interesting. The neighborhood has changed. BR can finally be BR! Not that a lot of people didn’t know all along. And continue the good investment advice! Thanks.

  27. LoriInNC says:

    As the comments here imply the “Divide and Conquer” strategy is working.

    Most of the posters here probably voted for “hope and change” aka “redistribution of wealth”. So what are you bitching for?

  28. Hey You says:

    The federal money spent in a state may not be to the State’s advantage. Take Idaho, the Federal government is by far the largest land owner in the State…. Over 80 percent is administered by the BLM and US Forest Service. There are a large number of Federal employees who are hired to administer the land. Often these agencies impose difficult problems for people who are trying to make a living. The money that is returned to Idaho may actually DECREASE the economic well being of the citizens. (Think eco muffins, wolve cattle ranchers and the endangered species act.) Idaho is a relatively large state so lots of federal money is spent on the roads, interstate system. While Idaho citizens gain great benefit for the roads; efficient movement of goods from Seattle, Portland to Chicago etc. is essential for a lot of state economies.

    The poster neglects to take into account the average income of the individuals who live in the State. I believe that Connecticut is the home to most hedge fund managers. So their choice in living in Connecticut because of State income tax rates skews New York’s numbers.

    Even a hick such as I can see the poster is interesting but not really informative.

  29. constantnormal says:

    “Surprising that many of the states that have the highest net tax gain are in favor of less government spending, while the states that reap the least per capita are more government spending . . .”

    And what’s even stranger (or perhaps not), the type of cuts being pushed would tend to make these imbalances even larger … I see no one clamoring for cuts in farm price supports, or mining/drilling subsidies …

  30. Irwin Fletcher says:

    constantnormal, you haven’t read Ryan’s Budget proposal then.

  31. diogeron says:

    I think Paul Begala summed it up best in this piece penned for The Daily Beast:


  32. VRWC says:

    The data and the conclusions being drawn from this chart are bogus in several respects;

    First, it is old…. the raw data is from 2005….

    Anyone care to guess where top ranked, Blue “giver” states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Illinois will rank when the chart is updated to include the 2008 thru 2010 financial industry and statehouse bailouts?

    Second; You will note that most of the top “taker” states are sparsely populated and rural. As one commenter noted Idaho is something like 80% Federal land…. with large restrictions on the private, economic use of that land in return for a relatively small absolute, but large per capita Federal payoff.

    Third; It is my understanding that the payout data includes military expenditures. Again, this skews the data against sparsely populated, rural states.

    And while I can understand why one would consider agriculture supports to be a handout…. I’ll be damned if I accept the assumption that military salaries…. or even general spending on military bases…. are the same thing as welfare payments.

    Fourth; Our tax system is highly progressive…. that means a huge chunk of the taxes are going to come from the wealthiest 10%, especially our financial titans….

    Maybe I’m a cynic, but even forgetting the bailouts, does anybody really believe that our financial titans are doing a lot to contribute to our national wealth these days? Goldman Sachs bonuses…. AIG, Merrill…. surely there is plenty of Dick Fuld’s Lehman bonus money in this data as well….

    Recall that this 2005 tax data was gathered from the height of the real estate boom…. I’m betting Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide fame paid a big slug of these taxes…. anybody want to credit California as a net contributor to our national financial well being because of his tax money?

    Last….; the number 1 “taker” state is New Mexico…. it may have once been a “Red” state, but it has voted democrat in 4 of the last 5 elections….

    I think this is a perfect example of spinning a dataset politically rather than objectively.