The average California household pays more than $10,000 in federal income tax each year. Want to know how your money's spent?
USASpending.gov, a 6-month-old website from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, gives a partial answer, detailing federal spending on contracts and grants.
You can search for contracts or grants awarded to a particular company or institution, or slice the data by state, city or ZIP Code. You can also narrow results to a particular federal agency or search by the product or service provided.
The site shows, for example, that the California Department of Education was the No. 2 recipient of federal grants in 2006, receiving $5.8 billion for spending on schools in low-income areas, special education, student lunches and other programs. A few clicks in the contract database shows that the top contractor for NASA in each of the last four years was Pasadena's Caltech, operator of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Data are available back to 2000. Although most 2007 contracts and grants are included in the database, some have yet to be reported, so be wary of making comparisons with prior years.
-- Scott J. Wilson