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April 1, 2010
3:47 PM

CONTACT: National Priorities Project

Jo Comerford, Executive Director, 413.584.9556 (o)

Where Did Your 2009 Federal Income Tax Dollars Go?

NPP takes stock of how the federal government spent each tax dollar, launches an improved interactive tax chart and analyzes debt, deficit and the sources of federal revenue

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - April 1 - As April 15, 2010 approaches, taxpayers can take stock of how the federal government spent each of their 2009 federal income tax dollars. In its annual release, Where did your tax dollars go?, NPP offers a breakout of federal income tax dollar allocation while also launching a much-improved interactive tax chart. The 2010 release is available at; the tax chart is available at Taxpayers using NPP's tax chart are now able to input their 2009 federal taxes and see exactly how their tax dollars were spent by the federal government.

In 2009, Health received 20.1 cents of every tax dollar and Interest payments on the national debt claimed an additional 13.6 cents, of which 5.4 cents was directed to interest on Military-related debt. When 5.4 cents of Military-related interest is added to the 26.5 cents dedicated to paying for core Military-related spending, the total Military allocation is 31.9 cents of each 2009 federal income tax dollar. Education received 2 cents; the combined category of Environment, Energy and Science got 2.5 cents; and Transportation and International Affairs took 1.3 cents a piece.

"Federal spending reflected the events of 2009: financial institutions collapsed, there was a global economic downturn, and a domestic housing crisis. These events required federal fiscal responses, among them: the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), decreased interest rates, increased unemployment insurance, and the federal housing tax credit," notes Jo Comerford, NPP's Executive Director.

In turn, this affected the proportions of federal outlays for 2009. Spending in the categories of Government (TARP), Housing and Community (housing tax credit) and Income and Labor (unemployment insurance) was relatively greater as a proportion of the total budget in 2009 than it was the previous year. As a result, the spending in other categories such as military and health was relatively lower as a proportion of the total budget although higher in actual dollar amounts than the previous fiscal year.

As part of its 2010 Tax Day release, National Priorities Project research staff have also updated NPP's unique federal spending database so that Tax Day users can see the local impact of federal spending in eight spending categories. Page two of this year's Tax Day release focuses on debt, deficit and understanding the sources of federal revenue - federal funds (funds available for general spending, made up of individual tax dollars; corporate, estate, gift, customs and excise taxes), trust funds (earmarked revenues for particular purposes), and borrowing.

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent.  Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels.  For more information, go to

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