More Money to Spend
Which state posted the biggest jump in per capita income from 1984 to 1985? Hint: much of the rise came from federal handouts -- and we're not talking food stamps here.
Give yourself 10 points if you guessed Nebraska. Federal farm subsidies are pulling the Cornhusker economy up after a long slide, and the ripple effect is helping such nonfarm industries as construction. "The whole state economy started to go downhill around 1979 and '80, and things are just starting to perk up a little bit," says Charles Bare, research associate at the University of Nebraska's Bureau of Business Research.
Two other great beneficiaries of federal largess -- Maryland and Virginia -- also made the list. The leading region was New England, whose booming economy boosted 4 of its 6 states onto the top 10.