Friday, February 15, 2008

Fake "study" says Illegals pay taxes

The Potomac News published an article today covering a "study" performed by a pro-illegal front group titled "Report: Illegal Immigrants Contribute". The report was written by "The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis".

This group shares an address and phone number with the Virginia Interfaith Center and Public Policy, a group with decidedly pro-illegal leanings.

The article states:

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis estimates that illegal immigrants contribute between $379 million and $453 million a year in income, sales, property and other taxes.

But the article then notes that you can't actually do this:

The study recognizes there is no way to calculate exactly how much illegal immigrants pay in taxes.

So instead, they just guess:

It uses figures from a 2005 Pew Hispanic Center study that estimates there are 250,000 to 300,000 illegal immigrants in Virginia. The center estimates that Virginia's at least 109,000 undocumented households earns an average of $27,400 annually, resulting in at about $3 billion in income.

"Like all other workers in our state, they spend that money,'' Cassidy said. "And like most low-wage workers, they spend almost all of that money.''

Cassidy said the study accounted for about $4,000 each year that would be sent back to the immigrant's home country and not put back into the economy.

The study estimated that about half of the illegal immigrant workers paid income taxes, meaning they and their employers also contributed to Social Security and Medicare, benefits they are ineligible to receive.

This is not a “study”. They took an estimate of how many illegals were in the state. They took a guess as to how much money each one would earn. They then guessed how much of that money they would spend, guessed how many people lived in a home, and guessed what their income tax rate would be.

They added up all the numbers, and said “that’s how much tax they pay”.

But the sales tax for food is 1.5%, and many illegals mostly by food. If they buy stuff over the internet, they might not collect sales tax, but instead have to pay “use tax”, but the illegals wouldn’t be filing their ‘use tax’ forms.

They live multiple people to a home, which means the per-person property taxes are low.

They have to pay gas tax, except a lot of them drive bicycles and even mopeds that they modify to go faster than the 35-mph legal limit (there’s a bill about that in the Virginia legislature now). So often they aren’t buying much gasoline.

They pay payroll tax, but only if they are being paid “legally”, which many of them aren’t. Day laborers are often contracted as independent agents, and expected to do their own payroll and income taxes.

This of course all casts into doubt their numbers. Then you have to do a “relative” cost analysis.

If the illegals all disappeared, SOME jobs would go with them, since some of this work is to support the illegal immigrant community. But most of the jobs would still remain, and would be filled by legal workers. Not only would they pay those same taxes, they might be paid MORE money for the jobs because of less competition, so they’d pay MORE in taxes. And they would be less likely to skip out on taxes.

In the end, I imagine the tax collected would INCREASE if the illegals were gone. The economy might shrink some, because there would be fewer people.

Then you have to look at the cost side of the ledger. How much does it cost to have all these poor illegals?

Well, we already know that adding a typical poor family to a state COSTS the state money. That’s for legals or illegals. That’s why counties try to encourage upscale home building, and discourage condos and rental units. A rich person and a poor person use the same roads, but the rich person adds a lot more to the economy for that road use, for example.

And these illegals are mostly poor people. They don’t contribute enough to pay for the COMMON services, but as poor people they also use ADDITIONAL services — free medical care, social service programs, food stamps, etc. Some are hard for the illegals to get, others very easy to come by.

The numbers people throw around here for school are mostly low. The AVERAGE cost for a student is between 10-14 thousand dollars. But the average well-educated white student from a middle class family costs very little to educate, maybe 6-7 thousand dollars. The reason the average is so high is bacause of the mandated special education needs of other students.

Like illegals, who need special english programs, and head start, and remedial training, and tutors, and extra counselors, and spanish-speaking administrators. Also school lunches, school breakfasts.

So my guess is each illegal student is going to be ABOVE the 10-14 thousand dollar cost.

Since my total virginia tax bill doesn’t seem to quite cover the stated cost of educating my two children, it is clear that the taxes collected won’t come NEAR to paying for a poor illegal with 5 children, one of whom has children of her own (yep, 12-year-olds are having children at my son’s middle school).

Aid to families with dependent children. Medicare payments. Child tax credits, refundable. Child day care tax credits.

The cost of a poor segment of society is enormous. Encouraging millions more to be that poor segment is absurd.


Anonymous said...

I went to the Virginia Interfaith Center web what way are they, or The Commonwealth Institute, pro-illegal? I do not see that on their Web site.

Charles said...

Rather than provide an extensive analysis here, I created a new post, which you can see here

The article contains indication of their pro-illegal bias, and the organizations that work with them include many staunch pro-illegal groups.

bredg said...

And the organizations that work with them include many staunch.