Friday, December 08, 2006

Another Bogus Study Distorts Illegals' "Contributions"

The Texas State Comptroller's Office has just issued a study which purports to show that illegal aliens pump $17.7 billion dollars a year into the Texas state economy, and $420 million more into state tax coffers than they use in state services. Like so many studies which show some "benefit" from illegal immigration, this one, too, is distorted. Unlike so many of these bogus studies, this one does admit there's a problem with the results.

To quote the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, "The report, believed to be the first ever to calculate the cost of illegal immigration to a U.S. state, also found that local governments pay far more to provide services to the undocumented than they recoup in taxes, fees and other revenue sources."

In other words, they eliminated the costs of education of illegals' children, local law enforcement, and other local services. They certainly never considered infrastructure costs: roads, school construction, sewers and water, etc., either state or local.

The Star-Telegram quoted Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn as saying, "there is little doubt that if we took undocumented immigrants out of the work force, $17.7 billion would disappear from the Texas economy.”

This is the utmost in errant nonsense. Absent the lawbreaking aliens, any jobs which need to be done would be performed by US citizens and legal immigrants, and those $17.7 billion in earnings (and probably more) would go to those legal Texas residents, and more of that $17.7 billion would stay in Texas - the study fails to mention how much of illegal aliens' earnings are shipped out of the country, not just out of of the state.

Texas has no state income tax, so illegals can't dodge that. They will pay state sales tax on purchases, if they shop at legitimate stores which forward sales taxes to the state. But foreign-owned shops, sidewalk peddlers, and goods sold "under the table" evade sales tax. Citizens rarely try that dodge, but illegals running these operations are themselves under the radar and much more easily evade scrutiny and taxes.

And what about those goods they do buy? Watch immigrants, including illegals, at any WalMart, grocery store, supermarket: they bypass US rice for imported rice. Hispanics go for Goya; Asians buy Thai. Mexicans aren't buying Bud; they get Dos Equis, tequila, and other beverages imported from Mexico. Immigrants are an important factor in our trade deficit, but no one has ever determined how much that costs us.

Other unadmitted, but likely, distortions: did they calculate state aid and Medicaid to children of illegal aliens? If they pay out a cent toward "children," it actually goes into the illegal aliens' pockets. What about school breakfast and lunch programs? Much of the money comes from federal tax dollars, but they don't identify - and bar from benefits - children of illegal aliens.

A $17.7 billion economic boost? No, illegal aliens in Texas are a $17.7 billion-plus-plus-plus loss to the economic well-being of citizen-Texans.
[Star-Telegram: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/16189877.htm; state report: http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/specialrpt/undocumented/undocumented.pdf]

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