Politics & Government
8:57 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Where your federal tax dollars go

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Tax Day is here, and as many Michiganders are racing to meet Uncle Sam's deadline, how many really know where their tax dollars are going?

Jasmine Tucker, research analyst with the National Priorities Project, encourages taxpayers to use the Tax Receipt Calculator, which breaks down the average taxpayer's federal return from last year and shows how the government spent those funds, down to the penny.

"This really gives people the opportunity to see, in numbers that they understand, what they paid in taxes and where those taxes went," Tucker said.

The average Michigander paid about $9500 in federal taxes last year, according to the calculator, with 27 cents on every dollar going to the military, 22.7 cents to health care programs and just two cents to education. The calculator is available at NationalPriorities.org.

According to Tucker the central vision of our democracy is that the federal budget should represent the priorities of a majority of the people, but the only way to know if that is happening is if citizens take an active role in following the money.

"People can look at this tool and say, 'You know, that's not really where I would have spent that.' Then they can decide where their priorities lie, and then they can let their elected officials know so that they can hopefully then change the budget," she said.

According to the National Priorities Project, Michigan taxpayers paid about $2200 less than the national average in 2013.