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Sumner County: Where the numbers came from

  • Published Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 4:10 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 6:51 p.m.

Estimates of federal spending and taxation, particularly on a county level, can vary. Even population figures can be different, although most sources put Sumner’s 2010 population within a few hundred people of 24,000.

Most of the specific spending figures used in these stories come from a database compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

The database includes a county-by-county accounting of federal spending “for grants, salaries and wages, procurements, direct payments, direct loans, guaranteed loans, and insurance obtained through Federal Government agencies,” according to its website.

USDA-ERS gets its information from the Consolidated Federal Funds Report, or CFFR, generated by the Census Bureau. That report provides a county-by-county breakdown for more general categories of federal spending.

Congress decided to discontinue the CFFR after the 2010 fiscal year; instead, government spending figures are posted online at www.usaspending.gov. USDA-ERS has stopped producing its database.

Firm figures on the federal tax burden on a county-specific basis are even harder to obtain. The latest figures available come from a 2007 study by the conservative-leaning Washington-based Tax Foundation, which estimated every county’s total federal tax burden for calendar year 2004.

The estimate includes income, payroll, excise, corporate, and other federal taxes.

That year, the estimate was $4,057 in federal taxes per person in Sumner. Federal expenditures per person there were $6,056 (there were slightly more than 25,000 people in Sumner in 2004).

Put another way: The federal government spent $153.1 million in Sumner in 2004, and got an estimated $102.5 million in taxes.

But the gap between revenue and spending has almost certainly grown, in Sumner County and everywhere else. That’s because federal spending has grown far faster than revenues over the last decade.

In 2010, the government spent $189,133,000 in Sumner, according to the CFFR.

Other spending figures and information used in these stories came from the following sources: The U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Environmental Working Group, the University of Kansas Institute for Policy and Social Research, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the Kansas State Department of Education, www.statebudgetsolutions.org, www.city-data.com, www.recovery.gov, www.fedspending.org, www.usgovernmentrevenue.com, and www.usgovernmentspending.com. We also used budget records and data from the Sumner County Commission, the Wellington City Council, and several Sumner County school districts.

Dave Helling

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