The Tax Foundation has done a listing of what percentage of states’ general revenue comes from federal aid. Tennessee comes in as the sixth most dependent on federal funding, which accounts for 44 percent of the state budget, according to the Tax Foundation.
From an emailed news release: Mississippi relies more heavily on federal assistance than other states, with 49% of its total general revenue coming from federal aid. Close behind are Louisiana at 46.5% and Arizona at 45.7%. On the end of the spectrum, Alaska relies on federal aid for 24% of its general revenue, followed closely by Delaware at 25.9% and North Dakota at 26%.
A national map showing the rating of all state is HERE.
The Campaign Finance Institute , which advocates some public financing of political campaigns, has done a state-by-state review of political contributions to races for governor and state legislature seats, ranking states in order of the percentage of population that made donations.
The review used the years 2006 and 2010, which CFI says were years in which most states had both gubernatorial elections and legislative campaigns. There were 33 such states in 2006 and 35 in 2010. (In Tennessee, where we have legislative elections every two years, 2006 was incumbent Gov. Phil Bredesen’s reelection year 2010 was the open-seat election won by Gov. Bill Haslam.)
The review shows Tennessee ranked 30th of the 33 states in 2006, with 0.67 percent of the state’s voting age population making donations to political campaigns. In 2010, Tennessee ranked 23rd out of the 35 surveyed states, with 0.89 percent of voting age population making donations.
The highest percentages were in Vermont and Rhode Island, which alternated as No. 1 in the two years surveyed. Both states have systems where public funding matches small donations from individuals. In 2010, Vermont was tops at 5.86 percent of adults donating to campaigns.
The lowest percentages were in states with higher populations – Florida, New York and California. In 2010, Florida had the lowest percentage, 0.22 percent.
Bills calling for some sort of public finances system have occasionally been introduced in Tennessee, though not in the last couple of legislative sessions. Those introduced previously all died in committee without a vote.
The CFI study, including the state-by-state table, can be seen by clicking on this link: 20121220_StateDonorParticipation-2006-V-2010.pdf
Back when he was willing to provide some figures on his income, Bill Haslam was understating the percentage of that income paid in federal taxes, according to the Commercial Appeal’s Marc Perrusquia.
Haslam released a summary of his non-Pilot income during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign for a six-year period ending in 2008. (He has refused to release any information on his income since then.)
The summary, when analized, shows that Haslam paid such a low rate of taxes on non-Pilot income that it “provides fodder for an emerging national debate over how federal income tax policy benefits the rich,” Perrusquia reports. Haslam’s summary reported he paid $3.8 million in federal taxes and $597,000 in state taxes on his non-Pilot income over the six-year period.
This, the summary said, amounted an effective tax rate that averaged 22.35 percent over the six years and reached 48 percent in two of those years.
However, Haslam’s non-Pilot tax rate is much lower when isolated to federal taxes and calculated in a manner typically used to compare tax rates. For one, Haslam calculated his tax rate by using taxable income, not total income. Taxable income is lower than total income because itemized deductions and personal exemptions have been subtracted.
Using taxable income inflates a tax rate, said Nick Kasprak, an analyst for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington-based tax research organization.
“That is nonsense,” Kasprak said. “It’s misleading to do that. There are a lot of tax deductions people can take. If you’re not including those in your income you’re inflating your tax rate.”
Haslam said his personal CPA computed the tax rates published in his income summaries using an accounting software by a leading national firm. The software divides taxes paid into taxable income, he said.
However, using Kasprak’s method, the newspaper found Haslam’s effective federal income tax rate (on non-Pilot income) averaged 13.1 percent over the six years and dipped as low as 11.7 percent in 2007 and 4.8 percent in 2008.
There’s some commentary from the governor on the matter. “I’m not sure that this is a case of somebody that’s trying to dodge taxes,” said Haslam, emphasizing that much of his federal tax deduction involves huge charitable contributions he’s made, plus state taxes he paid.
Renewed interest in Haslam’s finances comes amid a flourishing national debate over taxes and wealth.
Spurred in part by the Occupy movement, the debate is gaining currency, too, among conservatives influenced by the likes of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes. A report this fall by the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office fueled the debate by finding a growing income inequality between the middle class and America’s richest citizens.
“There is a bigger gap there, that’s true,” Haslam said. “So the question is: Why? … Is it solely tax policy? Is that what’s driving the difference? Or are there a lot of other factors at play? And I think that’s the discussion we should be having,” he said, suggesting that inadequate education and the breakup of the traditional family might also be factors in the growing income gap.
“The easiest thing to say is, ‘Well, there’s the super rich. And the ‘one percent’ is doing well.’ ”