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December 27, 2006

Texas Comptroller Concludes that Undocumented Immigrants Provided Substantial Financial Benefit to State Economy

The Office of the Comptroller for the state of Texas this month released a report detailing the net financial benefit provided to Texas by undocumented immigrants. The report concludes that these undocumented immigrants contributed $17.7 billion to the gross state product of Texas, exceeding by nearly half a billion dollars the amount spent by the state for education, healthcare and other services to such immigrants. These findings directly contradict the conclusions of two recent reports which found the costs of undocumented immigrants to exceed revenue. The Comptroller attributes this discrepancy partly to the fact that at least one, if not both of those reports relied on population estimates based on outdated data from 1994, as opposed to the current, more accurate data used in the Comptroller's report.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the Texas Comptroller, stated that this report marks "the first time any state has done a comprehensive financial analysis of the impact of undocumented immigrants on a state’s budget and economy, looking at gross state product, revenues generated, taxes paid and the cost of state services." She added that "(t)he absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received." The report identifies education as the largest cost factor spent on state services for the undocumented, while sales tax and other consumption taxes and fees constituted the largest share of revenue generated by this group.

You can find the full report on the Texas State Legislature's website; http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/specialrpt/undocumented/undocumented.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at December 27, 2006 09:03 AM

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