As damaging as automatic spending cuts will be to north Alabama, they are a reminder of how much the state relies on federal funding.
In Alabama, as the state GOP frequently reminds us, we dare defend our rights. The state’s incessant legislative rebellions against our federal government create the illusion that Alabama would be better off without it.
At least financially, sequestration gives specifics to the economic fact that poor states such as Alabama are heavily dependent on out-of-state tax dollars that flow here through the federal government. We understand our reliance when it comes to major employers such as Redstone Arsenal and NASA, but it’s easy to miss the numerous local programs that survive on federal dollars.
Even as we occasionally complain about the taxes we pay to support such programs, it turns out much of the support comes from taxpayers outside Alabama. Federal dollars help our schools, our mental health facilities, our hospitals, our environmental programs, our police departments, our universities, our small businesses and our programs for the elderly.
The people of many states pay more in federal taxes than they get back. Alabamians, however, get back more than $2 for every dollar they pay. As we focus on what we don’t like about the federal government, it is healthy for us to understand the financial benefits it provides.
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