Study Shows Utah Puts its (Lack) of Money where its Mouth Is

USA-US_Capitol2In a study released Wednesday by the website WalletHub, it was revealed that Utah lawmakers have done a relatively good job at limiting the use of federal dollars to fund state programs and interests.

With the exception of 6th ranked Kansas, Utah (which tied for 14th place in overall independence with Nebraska) is one of the few solid “red states” to appear in the top 50% of states who access federal funds. The vast majority of traditional red states, the study finds, are heavily dependent on federal dollars to survive.

The study found that Utah was a donor state in regards to federal funds. For every tax dollar that exited the state, Utah received $0.86 in returns, the 9th lowest return in the nation, with Delaware seeing the worst return at $0.50 for every dollar sent and South Carolina receiving $7.87 for every dollar sent.

Utah was also in the top half of states which minimize use of federal funds to supplement their budgets with federal dollars. Ranking 20th across the land, Utah supplemented the state’s budget to an average tune of 31.65%. In the $12.78 billion budget of 2013-14, the feds supplied the state with 27% of the total income, to the tune of $3.45 billion.

However, if the federal government were to go belly-up tomorrow, all would not be well in the Beehive State. Of every 1,000 workers in the state, 12.5 are federal employees, placing the state in the top 20% among all states for workforces comprised of federal employees. This translates to over 30,500 jobs statewide according to estimates. To provide some context, Connecticut has only 4.91 federal employees per 1,000 jobs while Hawaii has 25.32 federal employees per 1,000 workers.

Washington D.C., unsurprisingly, would be the most affected by a shutdown, with 336.63 federal workers per 1,000 jobs.

This study comes on the heals of several years of legislative sessions wherein state lawmakers have taken a strong stance against the federal government and a general distaste for accepting federal funds, with the notable exception of a pro-federal funds stance on transportation funding.

This debate came to a head during the 2014 legislative session as state lawmakers refused to accept a Medicaid expansion that would bring more than $459 million in funds back into the state in order to better insure low income families and the working poor.

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