The following is from the Oct. 9, 2007, edition of The Houston Chronicle. SMU political scientist Cal Jillson, author of Texas Politics, was a source for this story.

Texas near the top for raking in federal dollars

The Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – Texas has long viewed itself as a conservative bastion, but the Lone Star State ranked third in the nation between 2000 and last year in receipt of federal dollars, raking in aid and contracts worth more than $1.2 trillion.

An analysis by a private watchdog group found that state agencies and a number of congressional districts were major beneficiaries of the federal largesse. For example:

  • Rep. Ron Paul has long crusaded against a big central government. But the maverick GOP lawmaker and presidential contender also has represented a congressional district that is consistently among the top in Texas in its reliance on dollars from Washington. In the first nine months of the federal government's 2006 fiscal year alone, it received more than $4 billion in federal aid.
  • The Texas Transportation Department has lately warned of a budget crunch. Yet the highway-building agency raked in more federal funds than all but three other state agencies around the nation in the first three quarters of the 2006 fiscal year: $2.9 billion These and other findings are included in a state-by-state breakdown of federal spending by the group OMB Watch.

The analysis provides an insight into where federal dollars are flowing and underscores what Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson calls the "pork-barrel libertarianism" philosophy of many Texans.

"Texans like to think of themselves as the modern-day Marlboro Man," he said, "small government, low taxes and deregulation and 'keep your hands out of our pockets and I will take care of myself.' But they reach out to Washington every time there seems to be federal money available."

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