Iowans Collected More Federal Benefits Than They Paid in Federal Taxes

The Iowa caucus officially takes place tonight, followed by the New Hampshire primary next week, the first two steps in the GOP’s selection of a presidential candidate. While the Republican candidates have been trying to outdo each other on the amount of government that they would cut — with several of them advocating the elimination of entire cabinet agencies — it’s worth noting how much government aid the citizens of those states receive, in everything from federal infrastructure money to Pell Grants. The National Priorities Project laid it out:

On average, every New Hampshire resident received $4,850 in direct assistance from federal programs in 2010 — that’s everything from the Medicare prescription drug benefit to Pell grants. According to a 2011 Census Bureau report, federal money also accounted for 30 cents of every dollar of New Hampshire state revenue in fiscal 2009, the most recent year for which comprehensive data are available. Federal money helps states pay for building roads and fixing bridges, among numerous other kinds of projects. […]

Iowa received more federal money than New Hampshire in 2009. Thirty-three percent ($5.4 billion) of state revenue came from federal sources in that year…In addition to the billions of federal dollars that helped finance the state’s government, Iowa residents received substantial direct federal assistance. On average in 2010, residents of the state each received $5,400 from all federal programs. Iowans paid on average $5,175 in federal taxes that year — that includes income taxes as well as excise and other kinds of taxes, but excludes corporate incomes taxes. On balance, that means Iowans collected more federal benefits than they paid in federal taxes.

The slash and burn budgeting advocated by the GOP field would mean an end to many of the programs upon which Americans all across the country — including in Iowa and New Hampshire — depend. Of course, Iowa’s own budget priorities have been a bit out of whack recently, as they’ve cut business taxes while reducing pre-school funding and attempting to close unemployment offices.