How Much of Our Taxes Go to Prisons?

As of 2013, corrections accounts for about 5 percent of state tax spending, which totals roughly $50 billion. The only category that receives less tax money is the area of public assistance.

Some of the largest portions of state tax money go toward health care, higher education and public education from kindergarten through high school. Public education up through high school constitutes roughly a quarter of state tax spending, with health care and higher education making up roughly another 25 percent in combination. The public education system relies so heavily on state taxation for funding because a small amount of the associated costs is covered by the federal government.