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Federal Income Tax Breakdown: $10,500 Paid by Michiganders in 2015

In 2015, more federal taxpayer dollars went toward health care than to the Pentagon. (Pixabay)
In 2015, more federal taxpayer dollars went toward health care than to the Pentagon. (Pixabay)
April 15, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Some Michiganders will be spending the weekend crunching the numbers on their tax returns ahead of Monday's deadline. But do taxpayers realize exactly where their money is going?

The National Priorities Project's annual breakdown of income tax spending by the federal government showed that the average American paid nearly $13,000 in federal income taxes in 2015. However, it was less in Michigan, at about $10,500, according to Lindsay Koshgarian, the project's research director.

"A little over $3,000 of that went to health care and about $1,300 of that went to Medicaid. About $2,700 went to the military," she said, "and if you look at education spending, about $88 went to elementary and secondary education."

According to the analysis, health-care spending for the first time was more than military spending. Koshgarian said that's because the costs of health care keep rising.

"That's connected to things like the government's inability to negotiate drug prices through Medicaid, and it's also because there's been a big expansion in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act," she said. "A lot more people are now receiving Medicaid, and right now this cost is being picked up by the federal government, and we're seeing that in our tax dollars."

Koshgarian said it's important to keep in mind that these dollars are spent for the benefit of the taxpayers, with about $100 billion flowing back into Michigan.

"That was for things like grants to the state government, federal employees who live in Michigan, federal contracts to Michigan businesses," she said. "So dollars that you're spending in your tax dollars really do come back and benefit your state and benefit your community in many ways, and I think that's something that we always think about at tax time."

Income taxes are the biggest source of federal revenue, which Koshgarian said essentially means taxpayers pay the federal government's bills. She said that's why it's important for anyone who pays taxes to know exactly how their dollars are being spent.

Michigan's tax receipt is online at

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI