Taxes are on the minds of many Illinoisans, and a new analysis examines where exactly federal income tax dollars are going.
The National Priorities Project crunched the numbers, and the group's research director, Lindsay Koshgarian, says out of every federal income tax dollar paid in 2014, 27 cents went to the military, 26 cents went to health programs and 15 cents went to interest on the federal debt.
"What that means is that there's not a ton of money left over for everything else," she points out. "That's well of more than half of every tax dollar goes to pay for those three things.
"So, when you get down to something like education spending - you're spending two and a half cents of each dollar you pay on education."
The National Priorities Project says eight cents was spent on unemployment and labor, and five cents on veterans' benefits, which Koshgarian says left the remaining pennies for food, agriculture, transportation, housing and programs involving energy and the environment.
Koshgarian says the analysis puts into perspective the priorities of government spending. She compares some numbers for Illinois, where the average federal income tax bill is just over $14,000.
"Over $3,800 is for the military, $52 is for the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the typical taxpayer in Illinois is paying about $90 a year for welfare," she explains.
Almost half of all federal revenue comes from individual income taxes. And Koshgarian says another piece her organization examined is the government's very complex system of tax breaks.
"The amount that the government spends on tax breaks in giving money back to folks who pay taxes is actually bigger than what we spend in the federal budget each year on all of these programs, like the military and education, combined," she stresses.
According to the analysis, 10 of the largest tax breaks in 2013 overwhelmingly benefited the top 1 percent of households.