11 states pay more in federal taxes than they get back - here's how every state fares

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Justin Setterfield / Getty

A lot of federal tax money is sent back to the states for federal benefits.

  • A portion of federal tax money is sent back to states to spend on resources.
  • We looked at the monetary difference between how much taxpayers pay to the federal government and what they receive back in federal services.
  • The majority of states receive more in federal services than what they pay in federal taxes, but 11 states, including California and New Jersey, spend more than they receive.

You get what you pay for - but that may not always be the case when it comes to federal taxes.

A lot of federal tax money is immediately rerouted back to the states in the form of grants, which the state uses to spend on resources. But in some states, some taxpayers are left spending more in taxes than what they receive back in federal services.Advertisement

Consulting a report by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, we took a look at the monetary difference between how much taxpayers pay to the federal government and the benefits they receive in return for each state and Washington, DC.

The report examines the flow of funds between the federal government and each state for the federal fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2017, based on data from federal budget documents, the IRS, the US Census Bureau, and other sources.

We described the difference as the balance of payments. For example, California's balance of payments is -$13.7 billion. This means California residents get less in return than they pay for. However, Iowa has a balance of payments of $2.5 billion, meaning Iowa residents receive $2.5 billion more in federal services than what they pay in taxes.
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The difference per capita means how much the average state resident received in federal services versus what they paid in federal taxes. In California, each resident is sending in $348 more than they get back. In Iowa, each resident is receiving $797 more back in federal services than they paid in taxes.

The majority of states received more in federal services than what they pay in federal taxes.Below, see how each state fares.Advertisement

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Alabama

Alabama

Total balance of payments: -$169 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$291

Alaska

Alaska

Total balance of payments: $4.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,355

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Arizona

Arizona

Total balance of payments: $30.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,394

Arkansas

Arkansas

Total balance of payments: $12.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,255

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California

California

Total balance of payments: -$13.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$348

Colorado

Colorado

Total balance of payments: $2.1 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $387

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Connecticut

Connecticut

Total balance of payments: -$4.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,242

Delaware

Delaware

Total balance of payments: $915 million

Per capita balance of payments: $951

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Florida

Florida

Total balance of payments: $62.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,977

Georgia

Georgia

Total balance of payments: $22.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,190

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Hawaii

Hawaii

Total balance of payments: $8.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,156

Idaho

Idaho

Total balance of payments: $5.9 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,472

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Illinois

Illinois

Total balance of payments: -$14.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,158

Indiana

Indiana

Total balance of payments: $11.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $1,722

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Iowa

Iowa

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $797

Kansas

Kansas

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $797

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Kentucky

Kentucky

Total balance of payments: $26.6 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $5,984

Louisiana

Louisiana

Total balance of payments: $21.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,538

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Maine

Maine

Total balance of payments: $8.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,381

Maryland

Maryland

Total balance of payments: $40.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,657

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts

Total balance of payments: -$10.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,532

Michigan

Michigan

Total balance of payments: $21.3 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,138

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Minnesota

Minnesota

Total balance of payments: -$6 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,078

Mississippi

Mississippi

Total balance of payments: $23.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $7,902

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Missouri

Missouri

Total balance of payments: $21.1 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,458

Montana

Montana

Total balance of payments: $4.3 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,093

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Nebraska

Nebraska

Total balance of payments: -$267 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$139

Nevada

Nevada

Total balance of payments: $2.9 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $979

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire

Total balance of payments: -$749 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$558

New Jersey

New Jersey

Total balance of payments: -$24.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$2,748

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New Mexico

New Mexico

Total balance of payments: $20 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $9,624

New York

New York

Total balance of payments: -$24.1 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,216

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North Carolina

North Carolina

Total balance of payments: $31.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,047

North Dakota

North Dakota

Total balance of payments: $234 million

Per capita balance of payments: $310

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Ohio

Ohio

Total balance of payments: $26 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,233

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Total balance of payments: $17 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,332

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Oregon

Oregon

Total balance of payments: $7.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $1,827

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Total balance of payments: $28.9 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,261

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Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments:$2,362

South Carolina

South Carolina

Total balance of payments: $24.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,860

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South Dakota

South Dakota

Total balance of payments: $256 million

Per capita balance of payments: $295

Tennessee

Tennessee

Total balance of payments: $21.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,160

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Texas

Texas

Total balance of payments: $36.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $1,280

Utah

Utah

Total balance of payments: -$236 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$76

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Vermont

Vermont

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,530

Virginia

Virginia

Total balance of payments: $64 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $7,563

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Washington

Washington

Total balance of payments: $976 million

Per capita balance of payments: $132

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Total balance of payments: $39.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $57,447

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West Virginia

West Virginia

Total balance of payments: $14.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $7,991

Wisconsin

Wisconsin

Total balance of payments: $1.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $212

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Wyoming

Wyoming

Total balance of payments: -$169 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$291