Congressman says Illinois pays more in federal taxes than it benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Illinois congressman says Illinois is getting the short end – at both ends – from the federal government.

We pay more in taxes, because Illinois has relatively high incomes, and we get less in federal spending because of funding formulas that benefit smaller states, says U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Naperville). How much money are we talking about?

According to Foster, every year between $20 (billion) and $40 billion leaves Illinois, because we pay a lot more in federal taxes than we get back in federal spending. He calls this an enormous number, and believes it is, in large part, one of the drivers of all the fiscal difficulties the state is living through.

The average federal tax burden in Illinois (all federal taxes, not just income tax) is $9,574; the national average is $8,107. Per capita federal spending is $1,800 less per person in Illinois than the national average. Illinois gets federal transportation spending of $89.62 per person, the third lowest rate in the nation.

Foster says this has been going on for decades, and it’s because small states are over-represented in the Senate. He says if there’s to be a resolution of this in favor of Illinois and other big states, including New York, California and Pennsylvania, it’ll have to originate in the House. Foster has originated a “payer state caucus” with Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.).

The other big states, Florida and Texas, tend to be on the border of payer-vs.-taker, getting just about dollar-for-dollar value, depending on the year.