A small slice of the federal pie

Now that you’ve paid your federal taxes, Minnesota, you can await a thank-you note from Louisiana. Or Alaska. Or Mississippi.

According to a Census Bureau report out today (pdf here), those are the big winners in the “federal spending sweepstakes.” The report lists the total amount of federal dollars that flow to states in the form of salaries or programs or projects.

Here’s the national map:


Minnesota? We’re #48 with a little over $6,000 in per capita federal spending; that puts us just ahead of Utah and Nevada and just behind Wisconsin.

The report is based on 2006 data. A survey in 2005 showed that Minnesota received 73 cents in federal spending for every dollar paid in federal taxes, which tied the state with Connecticut for the bottom of the heap. Mississippi, by contrast, got $2 back for every $1 paid in. (Hurricane Katrina recovery at work.)

Today’s report does not suggest that ranking is going to change.

  • Alison

    We’re on the bottom and Pawlenty is doing his best to keep us there by throwing away the transportation funds for the Central Corridor.

  • GregS

    Considering the federal debt, we should be receiving $0 for every $1 paid in federal taxes.

    As for the stunningly stupid Central Corridor project, why should pensionioneers in China build a choo-choo in Saint Paul?

  • Alison

    If we weren’t sinking such a massive amount of money into fighting a war we shouldn’t be in we would could afford to pay for our own transportation projects. What percentage of our budget is spent trying to come with better ways to kill people? Is mass transit really the major factor in our borrowing?

    As for the ‘stunningly stupid’ rail project, this project probably isn’t the best stand alone project. It will take some actual leadership on the part of our elected officials to develop an actual rail system. As part os a system it becomes an essential link. Of course the really ‘stunningly stupid’ part about this and the Hiawatha Line is the low speed and extra congestion due to running the rails on some streets and crossing others.

  • http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/objects_in_mirror/ Julia Schrenkler

    Observation: That map shows Michigan’s UP a different shade than the rest of Michigan.

    Does Minnesota’s rank NEED to change, say, compared to Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi?

    -Julia Schrenkler

    MPR Interactive Producer

  • GregS

    Great catch, Julia!!

    Odd how no other state was divided into districts. Perhaps that map maker was from Michigan and was making a point.

    Here is something to consider. How much of the return states are owned by the federal government?

    This is certainly a factor in the case of Wyoming, Alaska and Montana where much of the state is federal land.

  • GregS

    If we weren’t sinking such a massive amount of money into fighting a war we shouldn’t be in we would could afford to pay for our own transportation projects.


    Transportation projects are funded by fuel taxes, not by general revenue. Wars, like the forty year old failed War On Poverty (the $20 Trillion war that bribes people to be dysfunctional) are funded from a different revenue stream than transportation projects.

    As for transportation, it is always cheaper to run buses on rubber wheels than steel ones.