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

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The states doing the least to spread the wealth

10. Texas
> Average pension benefits: $18,828 (25th highest)
> Total per pupil spending: $8,540 (9th lowest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $4,667 (10th lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 36.0% (21st lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 30.3 (22nd lowest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $195 (6th lowest)

Texas provides among the lowest average amount in monthly cash assistance to families receiving TANF benefits. It has the tenth lowest amount in medicaid payments per beneficiary. It also spends the ninth lowest amount on education on a per pupil basis. Residents of the state have one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the country, paying just 7.9% of their income. The state also has the fourth lowest cost of living in the nation.

9. Florida
> Average pension benefits: $19,777 (19th highest)
> Total per pupil spending: $8,760 (14th lowest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $4,574 (6th lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 29.5% (9th lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 21.8 (9th lowest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $233 (13th lowest)

Florida has one of the lowest per-beneficiary payout rates for Medicaid in the country. Conversely, it has one of the highest rates for Medicare, which aids those aged 65 years or older and is solely funded by the federal government. The state also provides relatively low unemployment benefits and TANF benefits.

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8. Indiana
> Average pension benefits: $8,837 (the lowest)
> Total per pupil spending: $9,369 (17th lowest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $5,136 (18th lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 40.1% (13th highest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 24.8 (13th lowest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $203 (8th lowest)

The greatest detriment to Indiana’s ranking is its pension system. The average benefits for a public servant enrolled in the Indiana Public Employees’ Retirement Fund is $8,837, the lowest amount in the country. Although Indiana, unlike many states, strives to make its full pension payments each year, it keeps payments small. According to the New York Times, “An employee earning $30,000 a year retires after 25 years with an annual pension of less than $10,000.” The state also provides a relatively low amount in average monthly cash assistance for TANF beneficiaries. The cost of living in Indiana is, however, relatively low.

7. South Carolina
> Average pension benefits: $17,467 (19th lowest)
> Total per pupil spending: $9,277 (16th lowest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $4,658 (8th lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 33.5% (16th lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 32.4 (20th highest)
> AAvg. TANF cash assistance per month: $172 (4th lowest)

South Carolina scores worse than average in every metric of generosity we looked at. The worst of these were Medicaid and cash assistance to the poor. South Carolina paid out just $4,658 per beneficiary last year for Medicaid, the eighth lowest amount in the U.S. Needy families received just $172 on average from TANF, the fourth lowest dollar amount in the country.

Also Read: The States That Spend The Most (And Least) On Each Student

6. Arizona
> Average pension benefits: $19,056 (23rd highest)
> Total per pupil spending: $7,813 (3rd lowest)
> Medicaid payments per beneficiary: $4,701 (14th lowest)
> Pct. of weekly wages covered by unemployment benefits: 26.2% (the lowest)
> No. of months of TANF received: 35.4 (18th highest)
> Avg. TANF cash assistance per month: $270 (18th lowest)

Arizona’s state and local tax burden is significantly lower than the national average. It also spends less than the national average in a number of areas. When it comes to education, the state spends the third lowest amount per pupil in the country. On top of this, the Arizona Senate recently cut $200 million from K-12 education. The state also covers the smallest amount of weekly wages for the unemployed. Additionally, the average weekly unemployment benefit is
$213, the fourth lowest amount in the country.