The States Doing The Most (and Least) To Spread The Wealth

Print Email

The states doing the most to spread the wealth

10. California
> Average pension benefits: $24,398 (8th highest)
> Total per pupil spending: $9,657 (22nd lowest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $3,367 (the lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 30.3% (11th lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 42.4 (7th highest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $537 (2nd highest)

California provides a large amount of cash assistance to those in need. Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in the state receive $537 per month — the second largest amount in the country — and for 42.4 months — the 7th most months. California residents have one of the highest tax burdens in the country. The state also has the seventh highest level of income inequality.

9. Minnesota
> Average pension benefits: $16,304 (17th lowest)
> Total per pupil spending: $11,098 (15th highest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $8,435 (2nd highest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 40.7% (12th highest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 40 (10th highest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $348 (19th most)

As of 2008, Medicaid enrollees in Minnesota received the second largest amount in benefits in the country. However, the state has cut outlay to the program as stated in the 2012-2013 budget, meaning the state’s ranking in this category may soon change. Residents of the state have to pay a very large amount in taxes. The average citizen of Minnesota pays 10.3% of their income in state and local taxes, which is the seventh largest amount in the country.

Also Read: The Ten Cars Americans Love The Most

8. Alaska
> Average pension benefits: $18,632 (25th lowest)
> Total per pupil spending: $15,552 (3rd highest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $7,453 (6th highest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 27.0% (5th lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 37.3 (14th highest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $602 (the highest)

Alaskans have the lowest tax burden in the country, paying just 6.3% of their income in state and local taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, “Before the Trans-Alaska pipeline was finished in 1977, taxpayers in Alaska bore the second-highest tax burden in the country. By 1980, with oil tax revenue pouring in, Alaska repealed its personal income tax and started sending out checks instead.” The state also doesn’t levy personal income tax or sales tax. Still, it manages to spend the third largest amount per pupil each year, provide the sixth largest amount in medicaid per beneficiary, and give the largest amount in monthly TANF assistance in the country.

7. Connecticut
> Average pension benefits: $26,622 (4th highest)
> Total per pupil spending: $14,531 (6th highest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $7,442 (7th highest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 29.2% (8th lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 26.7 (17th lowest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $413 (11th highest)

Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the country. Its residents also pay more than $5,000 a year on average in state and local taxes — the highest amount in the U.S. As a result, residents have the third highest tax burden in the country. In return, Connecticuters receive above average benefits. State employees who receive their pensions through the Connecticut State Employees Retirement System have the fourth highest average pension benefits. Students have the sixth highest amount spent on them. The state also has the fourth highest cost of living, and the second highest rate of income inequality.

Also Read: The States That Spend The Most (And Least) On Healthcare For The Poor

6. Hawaii
> Average pension benefits: $22,680 (10th highest)
> Total per pupil spending: $12,400 (11th highest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $5,261 (21st lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 54.3% (the highest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 46.7 (the highest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $518 (3rd highest)

Hawaii, on average, covers 54.3% of workers’ previous weekly wages through unemployment benefits. This is the highest rate in the country. The state also provides, on average, the greatest number of months of TANF benefits, and the third highest average amount of cash assistance. Part of the reason for this is that Hawaii has — by a substantial margin — the highest cost of living in the country. The state also receives one of the largest amounts of federal funding per capita in the country. This is partly due to defense, but also because of its high rates of health and human services payments.