How Federal Tax Dollars Are Being Spent

       ON APRIL 16, the Baltimore Emergency Response Network [BERN] sponsored its annual Tax Day event to alert Baltimore City taxpayers about how their federal tax dollars are being spent. The activists handed out their information at 10 p.m. at the U.S. post office on East Fayette Street, just as last-minute tax filers were bringing in their tax returns to be mailed by the midnight deadline.

       BERN cited calculations by the nonprofit National Priorities Project that conclude that more than 50% of the federal budget goes towards military spending, to the detriment of social programs.

       Most taxes, say these researchers, pay for military spending and interest on the debt, leaving little for education, the environment and other local needs.

       BERN activists called on the public to challenge such a federal budget. They asserted that Lockheed Martin, the nation’s top weapons contractor, receives $200 in taxes from every U.S. taxpayer.

       According to BERN, the median Baltimore family paid $2,038 in federal income taxes in 2000, including:

  • $560.45 on interest on the debt (28 cents of every tax dollar);
  • $456.51 on military spending (22 cents)
  • $344.42 on health care (17 cents)
  • $110.05 on social services and income support (5 cents)
  • $73.37 on veterans (4 cents)
  • $50.95 on education (3 cents)
  • $48.91 on nutrition (2 cents)
  • $46.87 on housing (2 cents)
  • $36.68 on the environment (2 cents)
  • $10.19 on job training (1/2 cent)
  • $299.59 on everything else (15 cents)
All 50 state reports, including Maryland, and 140 city reports are available on National Priorities Project's website at


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This story was published on May 2, 2001.