Nevada last in federal funding

(AP) - Nevada came in dead last in federal money in fiscal 2006 at $5,852 per person, according to a new Census Bureau report.

The spending in Nevada compares to the top-ranked states of Louisiana at $16,263, Mississippi at $14,516 and Alaska at $13,805. Mississippi and Louisiana are among the poorest states in the nation, and both were hit by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

At the bottom with Nevada were Utah at $6,162 and Minnesota at $6,175 in per capita funds from the federal government, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

Reasons for Nevada being a donor state in terms of federal funding might have more to do with 87 percent of the land being in federal control and the state's rapid population growth rather than the ability of the congressional delegation to bring home the bucks.

A Tax Foundation report released last year showed Nevada received only 73 cents in federal spending for every dollar that its residents paid in federal income taxes, based on 2004 numbers. Foundation officials cited the federal ownership issue as one reason for Nevada's ranking, along with a high per capita income.

Other reasons cited for Nevada's ranking include a low rate of obtaining federal grant funding and the fact that federal funds often come in the form of retiree benefits that states cannot control.

The ranking is not new. Nevada has typically come in at the low end of the states for various reasons, officials said.

Jon Summers, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said federal grants often require matching state and local funds that are not always available.

Matt Leffingwell, a spokesman for Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., said the formula for federal dollars hasn't kept pace with Nevada's population growth.

David Cherry, communications director for Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said Nevada lacks large numbers of the types of populations that generate increased federal dollars, such as those with higher poverty levels.

If special appropriations to states, called earmarks, were curtailed, it would eliminate one way Nevada can improve that disparity, Cherry said.


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