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

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

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A lot of federal tax money is sent back to the states for federal benefits.
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Justin Setterfield / Getty

  • 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.

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.

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.


Alabama

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$169 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$291


Alaska

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EQRoy/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $4.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,355


Arizona

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CraigStocks/iStock

Total balance of payments: $30.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,394


Arkansas

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $12.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,255


California

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Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$13.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$348


Colorado

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $2.1 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $387


Connecticut

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$4.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,242


Delaware

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Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $915 million

Per capita balance of payments: $951


Florida

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Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $62.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,977


Georgia

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photo.ua/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $22.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,190


Hawaii

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Izabela23/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $8.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,156


Idaho

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Charles Knowles/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $5.9 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,472


Illinois

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Maria Sbytova/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$14.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,158


Indiana

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $11.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $1,722


Iowa

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $797


Kansas

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $797


Kentucky

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Leigh Trail/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $26.6 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $5,984


Louisiana

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $21.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,538


Maine

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Jo Ann Snover/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $8.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,381


Maryland

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S.Borisov/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $40.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $6,657


Massachusetts

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$10.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,532


Michigan

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Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $21.3 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,138


Minnesota

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$6 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,078


Mississippi

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $23.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $7,902


Missouri

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $21.1 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,458


Montana

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Jeremy Janus Photography/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $4.3 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,093


Nebraska

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Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$267 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$139


Nevada

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randy andy/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $2.9 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $979


New Hampshire

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$749 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$558


New Jersey

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$24.7 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$2,748


New Mexico

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turtix/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $20 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $9,624


New York

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GagliardiImages/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$24.1 billion

Per capita balance of payments: -$1,216


North Carolina

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $31.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,047


North Dakota

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ZakZeinert/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $234 million

Per capita balance of payments: $310


Ohio

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $26 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,233


Oklahoma

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $17 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,332


Oregon

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Nadia Yong/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $7.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $1,827


Pennsylvania

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mandritoiu/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $28.9 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,261


Rhode Island

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solepsizm/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments:$2,362


South Carolina

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f11 photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $24.4 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $4,860


South Dakota

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Sopotnicki / Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $256 million

Per capita balance of payments: $295


Tennessee

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $21.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $3,160


Texas

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $36.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $1,280


Utah

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Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$236 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$76


Vermont

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $2.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $2,530


Virginia

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $64 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $7,563


Washington

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Miune/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $976 million

Per capita balance of payments: $132


Washington, DC

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Brian Kinney/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $39.8 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $57,447


West Virginia

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $14.5 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $7,991


Wisconsin

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Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: $1.2 billion

Per capita balance of payments: $212


Wyoming

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Shutterstock

Total balance of payments: -$169 million

Per capita balance of payments: -$291