(Photo by Flickr user Alex Berger via Creative Commons license)
(Photo by Flickr user Alex Berger via Creative Commons license)

All 50 U.S. states are not equal when it comes to how much tax revenue they send to the federal government.

The states that keep the government solvent are the ones where taxpayers contribute more than they get back. At the top of that list are Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York, which all receive 83 cents in federal spending for every dollar they contribute.

The four states produce almost 17 percent of all federal receipts, despite being home to just 11.8 percent of the U.S. population.

A view of the New York skyline as seen from New Je
A view of the New York skyline as seen from New Jersey, two states that send more money to the federal government than they get back.

"As long as the high income earners remain in the Northeast, these states will continue to have a negative balance of payments," Laura Schultz of the State University of New York (SUNY) Rockefeller Institute of Government, told VOA via email.

Schultz co-authored a report evaluating how U.S. states compare when it comes to the tax revenue they send to the federal government and how much they get back. The report examined revenue and spending data for 2016 and developed a preliminary assessment for 2017.

Courtesy Graphic
Courtesy Graphic

Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico and West Virginia get the most back from the federal government, raking in far more than they contribute.

Virginia almost doubles its money, paying about $10,000 in tax revenues per resident, while receiving more than $20,000 in federal money per person. The state’s Washington, D.C., suburbs are home to a sizable federal workforce. The world's largest naval base is also located in Norfolk, Virginia.

The presence of government workers means that the Old Dominion receives a larger allotment of federal payroll dollars and corresponding federal contracts, according to Schultz.

Low-income states are the other big winners. They pay less in federal income taxes, while people who live in those states are more likely to benefit from government support programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or SNAP, a nutrition assistance program.

Three men who are covered under Medicaid at a resi
Three men who are covered under Medicaid at a residential treatment program in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, a state that receives $2.35 for every $1 it sends to the federal government.

"The federal tax system is progressive with high earners generating the most federal revenue," Schultz says. "The federal government doesn’t consider the balance of payments for each state when allocating spending."

In all, 40 states receive more money from Washington than they send in.


 "Johnson" is one of the most common surnames in each U.S. state.(Photo by Flickr user Deanna Dykstra via Creative Commons.)
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