Pay Your Taxes — Hypocritical Red States Are Depending On You

April 15 is Tax Day (or if you’re “Kenny Boy” Lay, it’s Saturday). Have you paid your federal taxes yet? Trent Lott is hoping you have, for you see for every $1.00 Mississippi pays in taxes, it gets $1.77 back from the federal government in the form of government spending on the state with 4 eyes and can’t see.

An interesting report on Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures by State details which states get the most for every dollar they send to the feds and which states get the least. The map on page 2 is especially informative. The biggest giver is New Jersey: for every $1.00 NJ sends, they get $0.55 back.

The biggest taker is New Mexico: For every dollar they send they get $2.00 back from the feds. Yes I know the red state/blue state map overgeneralizes about the character of the population of a state. Yes there are plenty of good hardworking Kerry voters in Bush states and deluded Bush voters in blue states. Just bear with me here:

We’ve all heard about how elitist and lazy blue staters are, how they don’t understand the “heartland of America.” The red states that works hard, spur the economy, and don’t rely on trust funds or welfare like those morally degenerate blue state folks. The red states don’t like “big guv’ment” takin’ their hard earned tax dollars. That’s funny, because most of the states that give more in taxes then they receive in federal spending are blue states. Meantime, most red states get more in federal spending then they give in federal taxes.

Look at the top ten states that give more than they get: New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Illinois, Nevada, California, New York, Delaware, and Colorado. Among the top ten givers, 8 are Kerry blue. Shift a few votes in Nevada and Colorado and all Top Ten giving states would be unanimously blue.

Now lets look at the top 10 states that get more than they give: New Mexico, Alaska, West Virginia, Mississippi, North Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Hawaii, Montana, South Dakota. Among the top 10 tax money getters, 9 are Bush red.

Here’s something even more interesting: Of the 31 red states, only five are giving more than they get: Colorado, Nevada, Indiana, Texas, and Georgia. Of the 20 blue states, only 7 take more than they give: DC, Maine, Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Notice the geographic breakdown as well. Except for Hawaii, none of the states in the West that give more $ than they recieve voted for Kerry. All the solid red Western states take more than they give. Meantime, of the three battleground states of NM, CO, and Nevada, two give more than they get. There are no blue state takers in the Midwest. All but one red state in the MidWest get more federal largesse than they give to the feds.

While six Northeast states get more than they give, 11 of the 13 southern states get more in federal spending than they send in taxes. That’s right, the most Democratic region of the country subsidizes the most Republican region of the country BIGTIME. We might also add that the South has higher poverty, divorce, and murder rates than any other region in the US of A

Hey wait a minute Nick, you’re in a blue state that takes more than it gives. Well, sort of. The nearest city to me, Washington DC, does get more in federal spending than it gives in taxes. But then again, if it weren’t for all the federal buildings in Washington-that the city of DC cannot levy property taxes on-where would all the federal loans and grants to the states be processed?

Let’s not forget all the federal employees who are responsible for writing the regulations that benefit all Americans (food safety anyone?) and do the actual processing of Medicaid and other such funding. It turns out many of them live in Washington DC. Or these civil servants live in my homestate, a blue state taker, of Maryland. Mostly they live in the blue counties of Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore City, or Baltimore County. So yes, Maryland takes more in taxes that it sends: It also provides most of the federal workforce that delivers any federal benefits that anybody, anywhere receives.

In fact, your Social Security tax dollars are not sent to the Social Security Administration in Washington, DC. Because the SSA is not in Washington DC-it’s in Baltimore, Maryland. On behalf of the Baltimoreans working their butts off to make sure all the old and disabled folks get their SS checks (many of whom live in red states) I say “you’re welcome.”

Interestingly, while MD gets $1.44 for every dollar it sends, that’s not as much as the other state that border DC: the red state of Virginia. Virginia gets $1.66 from the feds for every dollar it sends. My New York relatives are coming to visit some friends down there. Hey Virginia GOP. Yeah, you guys that control both of Virginia’s Senate seats, a majority of the Va. US House seats, and a majority of both houses of the Va. state legislature. Do you think you can do something about the god awful traffic problems in your state? Don’t worry, the transportation costs won’t hurt Virginia’s budget. New Yorkers will pay for the roads and mass transit in Virginia- after all they’ve been paying for them for years.

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About Nick

Teacher of Social Studies. Born in the 1970s. History major, music minor. Big Baseball fan. Economic progressive.
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9 Responses to Pay Your Taxes — Hypocritical Red States Are Depending On You

  1. KJ says:

    I tried, honest-to-Pete Nick, I tried to read the pdf and understand what ya’all are saying, but I simply do not understand numbers… for me, it’s like trying to read a foreign language.

    So, I need your help, if you have time. eek

    What is the deal with Missouri? (Not that I claim this state, I only live here, you understand!)

  2. Ron Chusid says:

    Here’s an easy to view map on this topic from the Unofficial Kerry Blog.

  3. Nick says:


    No problem. Look at the map on pg. 2 of the pdf. The rest of the pdf can most definitely get more than a little confusing.

    In Missouri, for every $1.00 Missouri paid in taxes, it got $1.29 back from the feds-usually in the form of federal spending.
    So imagine if the total amount of federal taxes paid by all Missourians equaled $100,000. At the same time, $129,000 of federal spending was directed to the state of Missouri. As a result Missouri is benefiting more from federal spending than it is ponying up in taxes paid.
    A caveat here is that federal spending that goes to Missouri could mean any federal money that goes to anybody in Mo.
    A military base in Mo.? A road built in Mo.? A hospital? A subsidy to a rich agribusinesses company? As long as it is federal dollars going to someone in the state of Missouri it’s listed as federal dollars going to Mo., regardless of how socially beneficial that spending is.
    Any other questions you have, feel more than free to ask.

  4. KJ says:

    Thank you both!

    Work really cuts into my writing life, especially if I have to deal with numbers, but oh, what an op/ed piece this could be. Shake up some of the holier-than-thou Rural Redders who made, and wrote, comments about what happened in New Orleans after Katrina that made my bp boil. Things like how ‘we’ had zero responsibility for the levees, etc. (forget the fact that the grains from this state needs the ports, etc.) Etc.

  5. battlebob says:

    Is the money to fund Indian reservations and Sandia Labs counted? (am looking at New Mexico and Arizona)

  6. Nick says:


    As far as I know, yes. The Indian reservations and Sandia Labs on federal dollars being spent on Arizona and NM, so my best guess is that these are included in the calculations.
    Federal spending in a state, regardless of the usefulness of that spending, is counted. A road a state needs, an agricultural subsidy to a rich agribusiness firm that doesn’t need the money, etc.-if it’s federal spending, its part of the equation.

  7. Pingback: Clairblogience » Blog Archive » Security Cuts for New York and Washington. Omaha Gets a Boost.

  8. Nick says:


    Should’ve been “Except for Hawaii, none of the states in the West that get more $ than they give voted for Kerry”

  9. John says:

    Since you cut DC a break, you might want to consider that there are MANY federal buildings and structures in Virginia (far more than in Maryland), the Pentagon and the CIA are good examples. Both of these place massive burdens on the transportation networks of the state. Further, the largest naval base on the East Coast is in Virginia, and the Federal government spends quite a bit on upkeep and security for it. A very interesting article, but next time, try to keep your Southern Maryland bias out of it. Nobody cares.