Contrary to its reputation as an independent state, Wyoming receives the sixth highest amount of federal financial aid of any state in the country -- almost 40 percent of state revenue -- according to the Tax Foundation.
Other states that rely heavily on federal aid are Louisiana, South Dakota and Tennessee. Tax economist Liz Malm says many states have higher numbers of people who qualify for federal programs such as Head Start and Medicaid. But Wyoming’s federal funding mostly comes from mineral royalties since over 40 percent of its lands are federally owned.
“That really did come to a head during this whole sequester discussion that happened in the last few years,” Malm says, “because I think the debate was at, well, who’s funding is this really? Is this the federal funding that’s being given to us or is this ours that we have a right to.”
During last year’s federal sequester, Wyoming was among those that argued that mineral royalties actually belong to the state and shouldn’t be considered federal funds. Wyoming eventually won that battle.