Governments of Republican-leaning states are seemingly always banging the drum of austerity: decreasing corporate taxes, slashing spending, and cutting programs. But red states’ ideology and their preferences at the voting booth are not reflected in their state budgets, as a new study found that those locales are the greatest beneficiaries of federal money.
According to an analysis by The Hill reporter Reid Wilson of new data (pdf) published by Pew Charitable Trusts on Monday, “the average state that voted against [President Barack] Obama twice relied on federal funding for an average of 33.8 percent of its budget.” In contrast, “Among the 27 states that voted for Obama twice, federal grants made up 29.9 percent of the average state budget.”
Mississippi and Louisiana each claim more than 40 percent of their budget from federal grants in 2014, followed by Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Georgia, which each receive more than 36 percent. Each of these states voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
Alternately, pro-Obama states including Virginia, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Nevada all rely on federal money for less than a quarter of their state revenue. Federal dollars account for 30.8 percent of overall state budgets in 2014, which Pew notes is the lowest level since the 2007 recession.
“Republican states rely more heavily on federal dollars as a share of their budgets than do more Democratic states, largely because Southern states, especially, are more likely to have a higher percentage of residents living in poverty,” The Hill notes. States use these funds to pay for programs in areas ranging from education to transportation to healthcare.
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