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Rural Blog: Report shows some of nation’s most conservative states lead in federal assistance

While red states have traditionally called for less government, some of the nation’s most conservative states rely the most on federal aid, says a report published this week by the Tax Foundation, which advocates for policies that lower taxes and broaden the tax base, Niraj Chokshi reports for The Washington Post.

Mississippi and Louisiana, the nation’s two most conservative states, according to a Gallup poll, receive the most federal assistance, with 42.9 and 41.9 percent of their overall revenues in 2013 coming from federal aid. Five of the top 10 reliant states are in the South. North Dakota is the least reliant state.

Kentucky is No. 12 with 35.1 percent (see map).

Overall, five states—Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Montana—are among the top 10 most reliant on federal funds and Gallup’s top 10 most conservative states, Chokshi writes. At the same time, four states—Hawaii, California, Connecticut, New Jersey—are listed among the 10 least reliant on federal funds and the top 10 most liberal.

“The Tax Foundation’s analysis is based on a crude calculation of Census revenue data: divide each state’s intergovernmental revenue (i.e. revenue from other governments) by its general revenues, a category that includes most—though not all—state revenues,” Chokshi writes. “That federally sourced revenue comes in many forms, including Medicaid payments, education funding assistance and infrastructure financing.”

(Tax Foundation map)

(Click for larger image. Tax Foundation map)

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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