John Myers
February 5, 2017

During the depths of California’s budget crisis, talk in Sacramento about how many tax dollars were sent to Washington, compared with what the state received in services, generally sparked anger. But these days, it’s triggered fear.

After all, President Trump has promised to rethink the kinds of federal policies whose fiscal importance to the state is writ large. Then there’s the worry that Trump won’t soon forget the thumping he took here on election day, the worst defeat for a GOP presidential candidate in California since 1936.

With those postelection jitters in mind, the state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office has pored over the data to calculate a number that is the monetary essence of California’s relationship with the United States.

And what a number it is: The federal government spends some $367.8 billion a year on California. That’s an average of about $9,500 for every woman, man and child in the state.

In truth, the money isn’t spread out evenly. About 56 cents of every federal dollar spent in California, according to the analysis, goes to health or retirement benefits — Social Security, Medicare and money for low-income residents’ health care through the Medi-Cal program.

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