The U.S. federal government collects taxes to finance various public services. During the fiscal year 2019, the federal government $4.45 trillion, 7.1% or $338 billion more than in fiscal year 2018. The current U.S. government spending for the fiscal year 2020 is $4.746 trillion. Fiscal years start on October 1st and end September 30th of the following year. The fiscal year refers to the year it ends; therefore the fiscal year 2020 started on October 1, 2019, and will end September 30, 2020. The federal budget for FY 2020 is 21% of GDP.
The U.S. Treasury divides all federal spending into three groups: mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and interest on the national debt. Mandatory and discretionary spending account for more than 90% of all federal spending. Mandatory spending is spending that Congress legislates outside of the annual appropriations process. It consists mostly of Social Security and Medicare and also includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) among other things.
Almost two-thirds of federal spending goes toward paying mandatory spending. About 30% of spending goes towards paying for discretionary spending, essentially all federal government agencies, such as the military (the largest one), education and homeland security. About 10% of spending goes towards the interest the government pays on its accumulated debt.
Every year, workers in all 50 states pay taxes to the federal government. The federal government generates revenue from income and employment taxes and redistributes it to the states based on need in the form of grants, aid programs, and payment to major government contracting firms such as defense companies. A USA Today report shows that the revenue is not distributed equally among states.
The states that receive the most from Washington tend to have relatively poor populations that depend on federal assistance programs such as SNAP. The states that give the most to the federal government have higher-income residents and give more than they receive. The exceptions to this are Maryland and Virginia, which are both wealthier states; however, they receive disproportionately high federal funding, likely due to their defense sectors.
California receives the most funding from the federal government. In fiscal year 2017, California received $436.1 billion from the federal government, spending about $12 per resident. The state of California spends this funding on pubic universities, local governments, private entities, and other entities such as Local Housing Authorities.
Texas receives the second-highest amount of federal funding of $269.0 billion for fiscal year 2017. Texas’s net federal funding came out to about $304 per resident. Texas spends its funding on things such as K-12 educations, higher education, health & human services, and public safety.
Florida receives the third-highest amount of federal funding from the government. Florida’s $237.7 billion revenue comes out to about -$2,187 per resident. Florida spending is causing concern as the state has recently been spending more than its revenue. The three-year outlook for the Florida state budget projects a deficit for fiscal year 2019 and 2020.
New York receives the fourth-highest total revenue from the federal government, receiving $220.6 billion in fiscal year 2017. Net federal funding is -$1,792 per resident. For fiscal year 2020, the three biggest state government programs are health care, education, and pensions.
Virginia received $176.8 billion in total revenue from the federal government, the fifth-highest in the country. Virginia’s net federal funding comes out to $10,301 per resident, the highest in the country.
Wyoming receives the least amount of total revenue from the federal government, followed by North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota, and Delaware. All of these states are among the 10 least populated states in the U.S.