It is good to remember just how much Alabama depends on federal spending.
As damaging as automatic spending cuts will be to north Alabama, they are a reminder of how much the state relies on federal funding.
In Alabama, as the state GOP frequently reminds us, we dare defend our rights. The state’s incessant legislative rebellions against our federal government create the illusion that Alabama would be better off without it.
At least financially, sequestration gives specifics to the economic fact that poor states such as Alabama are heavily dependent on out-of-state tax dollars that flow here through the federal government. We understand our reliance when it comes to major employers such as Redstone Arsenal, but it’s easy to miss the numerous local programs that survive on federal dollars.
Even as we complain about the taxes we pay to support such programs, it turns out much of the support comes from taxpayers outside Alabama. Federal dollars help our schools, mental health facilities, hospitals, environmental programs, police departments, universities, small businesses and programs for the elderly.
The people of many states pay more in federal taxes than they get back. Alabamians, however, get back more than $2 for every dollar they pay. As we focus on what we don’t like about the federal government, it is healthy to understand the financial benefits.