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Where Your Money Went

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Wondering what will happen with those taxes you just paid (or are about to pay, if you’re the procrastinating type)? As it does every year, the Northampton-based National Priorities Project has the answer—as well as a tool that gives users a chance to map out their own spending priorities.

As the bar graph created by NPP (on facing page) shows, in fiscal 2012, the largest portion of your tax money—26.5 cents of every dollar—went to the military. Healthcare made up the next largest chunk, at 20 cents, while 13.6 cents went to interest on the federal debt. Significantly smaller amounts were spent on programs such as housing and community development (4.2 cents), education (3.5 cents) and transportation (1.4 cents).

For a more individualized answer, check out the “Federal Income Tax Receipt” function on NPP’s website (www.nationalpriorities.org), where you can enter the total you paid in federal taxes and see a detailed accounting of how your money was spent in fiscal 2012. For instance, if your household paid $6,000 in federal taxes, $511.39 of that went to Medicaid, $39.60 paid for nuclear weapons, $26.53 was spent on transportation infrastructure improvements, $14.17 went to the WIC nutritional program and 89 cents was given to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

NPP’s “Trade-Offs” tool, meanwhile, lets you draft your own ideal spending plan, reallocating the amounts spent in various programs to reflect your priorities. NPP urges users to share their plans through social media and to send a copy to their representatives in Congress.•

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