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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah received nearly $13.7 billion in direct federal spending for fiscal 2004, or $5,728 per capita, according to a new Census Bureau report.
The per capita figure was third from the bottom among the states, with only Nevada and Minnesota receiving less. The national average was $7,223.
However, Robert Spendlove, manager of demographic and economic analysis for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, said that per capita rankings can be misleading since Utah is the nation's youngest state, with a high proportion of children.
"A more accurate measure would be spending as a share of personal income, rather than per capita," Spendlove said. "It's looking at it relative to the state's total economy."
When compared that way, federal spending in Utah is 21.3 percent of total personal income, ranking the state 31st in the nation.
Another way to look at it: "Approximately a quarter of all income to the state is in the form of federal spending."
The Consolidated Federal Funds Report covers expenditures or obligations for direct payments, grants, procurement awards and salaries and wages provided by any federal agency or program.
Overall federal spending was $2.2 trillion, an increase of 5 percent from 2003.
Nationally, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than $1 trillion, and $347.7 billion was spent on defense.
In comparison to the national increase of 5 percent, Utah saw just a 1.4 percent increase in federal spending over 2003.
However, the trend over the past several years had been the opposite, Spendlove said. From 2002-03, Utah saw a 9.7 percent increase compared to a national 6.4 percent increase.
Utah's defense spending was $3.3 billion, up nearly 7 percent over 2003. Utah also received $4.1 billion in retirement/disability payments. Other large expenditures included $2.9 billion in grants and $2.2 billion in salaries and wages.
Utah received about $4.5 billion in direct loans, guaranteed/insured loans and insurance.
Utah saw a 13.5 percent drop in federal procurement contracts but gained in other areas, including a 21 percent increase for direct payments other than for individuals.
Information from: Deseret Morning News, http://www.deseretnews.com
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)