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Study: Md. immigrants pay $275M in taxes

Published on Mon, Apr 18, 2011

Illegal immigrants in Maryland will pay $275 million in state and local taxes this year, according to a study released Monday by a Washington group that advocates for immigrants. The report ranks Maryland as the 11th-highest state in the nation in collecting tax receipts from unauthorized immigrants.

Maryland comes in after California, Florida and New York but ahead of Nevada and New Mexico. The state will collect $76 million in state income taxes, $22 million in property taxes and $177 million in sales taxes in the 2010 tax year, according to the Immigration Policy Center study.

The report’s authors acknowledge that “it is difficult to know precisely how much these families pay in taxes, because the spending and income behavior of these families is not as well documented as is the case for U.S. citizens.” The study’s release was timed to coincide with Monday’s deadline to file state and federal income taxes.

“Tax Day is an appropriate time to underscore the often-overlooked fact that unauthorized immigrants pay taxes,” according to an Immigration Policy Center release sent Monday. “Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.”

In all, the group estimates that households headed by illegal immigrants will pay $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.

The Immigration Policy Center supported a proposal in Congress known as the DREAM Act that would have created a path to citizenship for some immigrants if they spent two years in the military or in college. The proposal failed. The group's estimates are based on a model developed by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, whose board includes four academics as well as the co-editor of the liberal American Prospect and a union official.

Proposals to overhaul the nation's Immigration policy have largely fallen off the radar in Washington in recent weeks as Congress and the White House focus on the budget and deficits. In Maryland, the General Assembly approved a bill this year that allows undocumented students who have attended three years of Maryland high school to qualify for discounted tuition at state universities and colleges.

Published in the Baltimore Sun | Read Article