Total dollars each county receives from the state for each dollar it sends to the state in taxes.
  • Total dollars each county receives from the state for each dollar it sends to the state in taxes.

As Dan points out below, despite all their whining about makers and takers, it's the red states who get back more in federal money than they pay in federal taxes, while we here in the blue states pick up the tab. But just a reminder that the same dynamic is true between red counties and blue counties here in Washington State:

King County, with roughly 29 percent of the state population, produced 42 percent of state tax revenues, yet it received back less than 26 percent of state benefits. That's a return of only 62 cents on the dollar for our state's Democratic stronghold.

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Compare that to the generous $3.16 return on each dollar enjoyed by taxpayers in hard Republican Ferry County in deep northeastern Washington. All in all, only six counties qualified as "net donors" to the rest of the state—San Juan, King, Skagit, Kittitas, Whatcom, and Snohomish—while the remaining 33 counties enjoyed an average return on investment of over $1.40 on every tax dollar sent to Olympia.

What is the real world impact of this sort of unappreciated redistribution of wealth? If King County's school districts were funded proportionate to what King County taxpayers put into state coffers, our schools would receive an additional one billion dollars a year from the state. Local readers should remember this the next time our local newspaper advocates for a school levy swap that would shift even more of the burden of state K-12 funding onto the shoulders of King County homeowners, while providing zero additional dollars for own schools.