Lame “STUDY” Misrepresents Wyoming’s Dependency On Feds
CAUTION: This story looks at a study by WalletHub.
WalletHub does some of the worst "STUDIES" found on the internet.
Anyway, they are saying that Wyoming ranks sixth most dependent on the federal government.
The Cowboy State comes in behind Alaska, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and New Mexico respectively. They also rank Wyoming first in state government’s financial dependency on the federal government and 24th for state residents’ dependency on it. (Wyoming Department Of Health).
That part from the Wyoming Department of Health we can trust.
This next line, from WallHub, shows why they can't be trusted to do studies.
“We looked at basically two categories: how dependent state residents are on the federal government and how independent the actual state government is federally,” said Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst. “Essentially, when it comes down to residents [dependency], we look at the return on taxes paid to the federal government. In other words, for every dollar in taxes that you give to the feds, how much are you getting back. Then in terms of state government dependency, we were really looking at the federal funding as a percentage of state revenue.”
What did WalletHub miss?
The one thing WalletHub gets right is how many federal jobs there are in each state, which includes employees of the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the National Park Service, among others. Wyoming has a lot of those, per capita.
But with so much of Wyoming's land being owned by the Feds, it's no wonder that we have so many BLM and Park service people working out there. That's not on Wyoming. That's your federal government taking care of the land they own in Wyoming.
“A state like West Virginia, for every dollar a resident gives to the federal government through taxes, they get around $3 back in terms of federal government services, so a three to one ratio is, you could argue great, or if you'd want to be less dependent on the federal government, you could argue concerning,” she said. “In Wyoming, it's actually one to one for every dollar that you're giving to the feds, you're pretty much getting $1 back. So that, I think, is probably the most ideal situation.”
They ranked Wyoming 3rd in the number of federal contracts received per dollar in federal taxes paid and the lowest in the amounts of grants received per dollar in federal taxes paid.
Then they ranked number one for the amount of financial assistance received per dollar in federal taxes paid.
They also found that Republican states are generally more financially dependent on the federal government than Democratic ones are. That is true, and a problem for the GOP brand. But what they do not look at is how much those red state tax their local people.
“In Wyoming's case, what's interesting is that it is number one in terms of federal funding as a percentage of state revenue, that it has about 56 percent of its state revenue coming from federal funds,” Gonzalez said. “That's why it ranks so highly in terms of its dependency here in terms of its return on taxes.”
BUT HOLD ON! - Much of Wyoming, like the other states mentioned above, is mostly owned by the Federal Government.
46.7% of Wyoming is Federal Land!
So don't count that land, and the management of it, as Wyoming.
The Feds choose to spend a lot of money out here on land that they own, inside Wyoming's borders.
ALSO! - Most taxes paid to the federal government, from Wyoming, do not come from the people but from mineral revenues. So they are not looking at how much money the state actually sends to the feds.
Wyoming has the fifth lowest personal tax rate at 8.06 percent behind Alaska, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada respectively.
The Cowboy State also had one of the lowest total tax burdens as of March 2022. Republican states generally impose lower taxes than their Democratic counterparts according to their findings.
Finally, while Wyoming has people in need, like most other states, most of the people who live here are self-sufficient.