Undocumented immigrants in Texas pay at least $1.5 billion in property, sales, and excise taxes annually, according to the new Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) report.
According to the report, “these tax contributions would increase significantly if all undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were granted a pathway to citizenship as part of a comprehensive immigration reform.” For Texas, granting full legal status to immigrants and refugees would add $154 million in state/local tax revenue to the state economy.
Why does this matter? Studies from CPPP, Dr. Ray Perryman and others have clearly demonstrated the economic benefits that immigrants provide to our state. The ITEP report reminds us that – regardless of citizenship or immigration status – immigrants also pay significant state and local taxes. Tax revenue from the over 4.2 million immigrants in Texas helps pay for schools, libraries, roads and other public services that benefit us all.
Economic and tax contributions are all the more reason to welcome immigrants to Texas instead of shunning them with xenophobia and discrimination. Last week I was proud to represent CPPP at a White House Task Force on New Americans meeting in Houston hosted by Mayor Sylvester Turner. Houston and Austin have joined 47 communities around the country in the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign. CPPP provided the latest data on how immigrants contribute to a thriving Texas, and we were featured on the White House Blog.
ITEP’s estimates underscore that the state and local tax system in Texas relies heavily on consumption taxes and property taxes—taxes that everyone pays, regardless of immigration status or citizenship. Let’s be sure our immigration policies in Texas take into account the numerous ways immigrants contribute to our economy and our state.