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NYS Ranks Worst in the U.S. for Return on Federal Tax Dollars

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New York State received the least amount of federal spending dollars compared to the amount of taxes paid in the entire country, according to a state comptroller report released yesterday (January 14) that analyzed data from federal FY-2018.

According to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York residents and businesses paid $26.6 billion more in taxes to the federal government than they got back in federal spending, coming out to 90 cents received for every dollar given.

New York was one of just seven states that paid more tax dollars than it got back in spending.


“For every dollar New York generates in tax receipts it receives 90 cents back in federal spending, compared to the national average of $1.21,” DiNapoli said. “We’re already getting less from Washington than what we give, which makes the upcoming 2020 Census so critical. New York must do all it can to ensure a complete and accurate count of its residents to maximize our population count, which impacts our federal aid and representation in Congress.”


New York’s gap has consistently remained negative and ranged from $19.9 billion in 2013 to $40.9 billion in 2016. In 2017, it was negative $24.1 billion. The FFY 2018 deficit of $26.6 billion resulted from an increase of $4 billion in taxes paid by New Yorkers with only a $1.5 billion increase in federal spending compared to FFY 2017.

Overall, New York generated 8 percent of the $3.2 trillion in federal tax receipts in FFY 2018, nearly $254 billion, while receiving 6 percent or $227 billion of total federal spending examined for the analysis.

On a per capita basis, federal tax revenues from New York were more than a third higher than the national average, partly because of higher incomes in the state.

DiNapoli’s report also notes:

  • New York received $138.1 billion in direct payments including those to individuals who receive Social Security, Medicare, benefits for veterans and retired federal employees, and food assistance, which was close to the average among states on a per capita basis. Major programs for which the state received higher-than-average per capita expenditures include Medicare, food assistance and Supplemental Security Income.
  • New York was second in the country in grants to state and local governments, receiving $69.8 billion. Medicaid makes up more than half of all federal spending for such grants and the state’s per capita Medicaid funding from Washington ranked first among all states.
  • In two other major categories – procurement and federal employee compensation – federal spending in New York was less than half of the national average on a per capita basis. The state’s combined total, $19.3 billion, was 2.5 percent of the nationwide total.

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