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Study Examines the Value of Immigration Reform

PHOTO:  New report shows Kentucky stands to gain millions in new revenue if immigration reform is passed. Courtesy of OneAmerica.
PHOTO: New report shows Kentucky stands to gain millions in new revenue if immigration reform is passed. Courtesy of OneAmerica.
July 12, 2013

BEREA, Ky. – A new study shows that Kentucky would get a boost in revenue if the state's estimated 80,000 undocumented immigrants were allowed to work legally.

The analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy claims Kentucky could gain more than $23 million a year.

Anna Baumann, an analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says Kentucky's spike in revenue would come mostly from income taxes.

"With immigration reform there would be a legal pathway for full compliance," she explains.

The study says undocumented immigrants currently pay nearly $59 million annually in state and local taxes, including $15.3 million in income taxes.

Baumann says at least half of undocumented immigrants already pay income tax through either a false Social Security number or an individual tax identification number.

She adds immigrants living in Kentucky without legal status already pay sales and property taxes.

"They're contributing to the economy and not just through taxes,” she says, “but through the money they spend on things like groceries, you know, cars."

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates the revenue gain for all states from immigration reform would be $2 billion a year.

Those immigrants are, according to the analysis, already paying $10.6 billion a year in state and local taxes.




Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY