Skip to comments.Immigrants pay off big for Texas' economy
Posted on 12/08/2006 8:17:53 AM PST by Graybeard58
AUSTIN Undocumented immigrants have boosted the state's economy by $17.7 billion and haven't been a drain on state government but they did cost local governments $929 million in 2005, the Texas comptroller's office reported Thursday.
The report by Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is the first comprehensive effort by the state government to calculate the benefits and costs of having 1.4 million to 1.6 million undocumented immigrants in Texas.
Overall, the survey found undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in state services.
But the report's results quickly became part of a brewing legislative debate over whether it is right for people who are in the country illegally to receive services paid for by citizens and legal resident taxpayers.
Most of the undocumented immigrants in Texas are from Latin America, predominantly Mexico. They are the working poor, doing service and construction jobs. But they also will send $5.2 billion home to their native countries this year, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
In her recent unsuccessful campaign for governor, Strayhorn said the federal government needs to halt illegal immigration. On Thursday, she said her report showed the need for federal immigration reform to make sure needed workers are in the country legally.
"It certainly demonstrates that you need a guest worker program, but you also need a fair immigration plan," Strayhorn said.
The Strayhorn report used a model that was built on how much undocumented immigrants earn as well as the return on capital from their labor to produce an impact on the gross state product. The $17.7 billion positive impact on the state's economy does not factor in any effects of the immigrants sending money home.
The report estimated there are 135,000 undocumented children in the public school system, costing the state $957 million a year. Another 3,792 are in state colleges, costing about $11.2 million.
The cost for the state supplying health care programs for undocumented immigrants was set at $57.9 million.
The state prison system on an average day held 8,931 illegal immigrants, costing a total of $130.6 million a year, the report stated.
The total cost for state services was $1.15 billion, but undocumented immigrants, through sales and property taxes, provided $1.58 billion in taxes for the state. That was a net positive impact to state finances of $424.7 million, Strayhorn said.
But there was a negative impact on local governments.
The total cost to incarcerate immigrants who commit crimes was estimated to be $49 million for counties statewide.
Strayhorn's office estimated the cost was $18.9 million for Harris County, the highest in the state. Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley was second at $5.2 million.
Bexar County was fifth in the state, with an annual cost of $3.9 million.
Another $92.9 million is being spent on courts and probation systems to handle undocumented immigrants.
The biggest local cost was for indigent health care provided by counties and local hospital districts, estimated at $1.3 billion statewide.
But undocumented immigrants in 2005 paid $513 million in local sales and property taxes, leaving a $929 million gap payment gap for local services.
State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, who has introduced controversial legislation to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, said he believes the costs are much higher than those in Strayhorn's report.
Citing a study done by the conservative Lone Star Foundation, Berman said the total cost to the state is $4.5 billion a year to provide services to immigrants, but he said they pay just $1 billion in tax collections.
"This is the net loss to the taxpayers of the state," he said.
Berman said he also supports a guest worker program because the immigrants are needed for the economy. But he said he does not want them to receive any state or local services that are not mandated by federal law.
Let's do another study to see how valuable rapists and murderers are to our economy!
"And now the Dixie Chicks are all the rage..."
Yeah. They've been running them on PBS repeatedly.
I don't care how many times they show them, it's not changing mine, or others opinion towards them.
Your wish is granted.
Here are my comments to an similar article posted yesterday.
I'll up the ante on that one, in Oregon, we have NO sales tax, but a hefty state income tax.
Factor the cost of educating the children of illegals, health care costs, state and local crime, and I'm afraid the Strayhorn report is nothing but Karl Rove talking points.
Should have made a link to yesterdays article.
That situation would be the most difficult burden on a State to have illegals.
I'm sure it's a positive amount according to this report. Think of the police officers, prison guards, bail bondsmen, lawyers, and judges that are kept employed.
And that's NOT a drain on the American economy????
Texas and California are case studies in right and wrong immigration policy.
They both field millions from Mexico. Texas does a better job of assimilating and YES it does improve the economy.
Texas has one of the best economies in the nation and it is a popular immigration spot for Americans in the 50 states.
How can immigration be so wrong when Texas is so right? Texas ought to be a disaster if anti immigration advocates are even one percent right.
They are not correct. We are constantly told that immigrants will vote Democrat and swing the system. Really? There is no evidence of that in Texas. In fact, over the past 10 years of massive immigration, the Republicans have strengthened their hold on the state.
Find the irony in that statement!
I differentiate between legal and illegal immigration. I embrace and am in awe of people who respect our system, as flawed as it is, and spend thousands of dollars and man hours to come here legally. I haven't anything positive to say about people who spit on our laws and way of life by sneaking in and living in the shadows. The gubament bears much blame for ignoring the border and not enforcing current law, but in the end, there is no excuse for breaking the law.
Go back and read the stories when they announced this "study." Of course I have an agenda, but I am not a government, nor am I purporting to be unbiased. They proved what they set out to prove. Bad scientific method.
You forgot to mention the property tax.
BIG time property tax.
I heard a phrase here in California: "We want everyone to stop moving here, the day after I arrive."
Illegals rent apartments and part of their rent goes to the owner to pay property taxes. So, in this case, illegals do pay property taxes.