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2023 tax receipt breaks down nation’s spending priorities

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Eric Galatas

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(Wyoming News Service) As many Wyomingites await their 2023 federal income tax refunds, a new National Priorities Project report breaks down how the money they won't get back is being spent.

Co-author Lindsay Koshgarian, program director for the National Priorities Project, said this year's Tax Receipt shows that - while many school districts in Wyoming and across the U.S. are facing major budget cuts - the average taxpayer is contributing thousands of dollars to military contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.


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So whereas the average Wyoming taxpayer was giving almost $2,300 to corporate pentagon contractors," said Koshgarian, "they were giving only $455 for public education in our K-12 schools."

The average American household paid over $5,000 for militarism and support systems, but invested just $110 in the Child Tax Credit - which cut child poverty in half during pandemic era changes.

The Pentagon has failed to account for money spent in audits for the past six years. But its defenders argue tax dollars create jobs and maintain global security in the face of competitors, including China.

Koshgarian said corporate contractors can create jobs, especially in key Congressional districts.

She pointed to Brown University research showing that $1 billion in military spending adds roughly 11,000 jobs.

By comparison, $1 billion would add nearly 27,000 education, and 17,000 healthcare jobs.

"But if we put that same money into other things like education or infrastructure or healthcare," said Koshgarian, "we could actually create more good jobs with the same amount of money."

The U.S. Department of Defense has known about the existential threat of climate change for decades, and wildfires now cost upward of $394 billion in damages each year.

But the average taxpayer invested just $14 in wildfire management.

Koshgarian said she believes concerns about protecting international security, which largely serve corporate interests, are overblown.

"The U.S. is already the top military spender in the world by far," said Koshgarian. "We spend more than the next 10 militaries combined. We have the most capable military by far in the world, and no one disputes that."