Friday, December 8, 2006

Texas Immigration Issue Update

By the way, in today's Houston Chronicle is an article which outlines a report from the Texas Comptroller's Office saying that illegal immigrants contribute to the economy far more than they take from it in government services.

The quick numbers: illegal immigrants boost the Texas economy, as a whole, by 17.7 billion dollars- $17,700,000,000. That's the wealth they produce- not how much they pay in taxes. They DO pay taxes, though- about $1 billion in state sales taxes and other fees, $582 million in school property taxes, and $513 million in local sales and property taxes, for a total of not quite $2.1 billion paid into state and local government treasuries. From this they get nearly $1 billion for education, $1.4 billion for indigent health care, and about $270 million to lock them up and deport them each year.

So yes, they're getting about half a billion dollars more out of the system than they put in... but poor people across the board always get more out of government than they put in. As a general rule, we try not to tax people with little or no money.

The worrying thing is, though, that the vast majority of the $2.6 billion comes out of local government's pockets. The government in Austin actually makes a profit on illegal immigration, if the Comptroller's Office numbers are to be believed. Unfunded mandates- devolving a government program to a lower level without paying for it- are a chronic problem in Texas, one which neither of the two big parties gives the least attention to.

No comments: