Immigration legislation pending in Congress could boost revenue for New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, according to a study released today by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).
ITEP Executive Directer Matt Garder says those who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visa already pay what he calls "automatic taxes."
"Every time you go to the store, or fill up your car with gas or buy a pack of cigarettes, you're going to pay those sales taxes and those excise taxes automatically," Gardner said, "and the retailer neither knows nor cares whether you're an undocumented taxpayer or a full citizen."
A path to citizenship would mean that those in the country illegally would pay income taxes more consistently, he said. Gardner estimates that right now, about 50 percent of undocumented workers pay into state and federal income taxes. The ability to work legally also would boost income tax participation, says the study.
New Jersey currently earns about $476 million a year from undocumented taxpayers, according to the study and could see another $100 million. Pennsylvania now takes in about $149 million and could get an additional $62 million. Immigrants working here without authorization contribute about $12 million in taxes to Delaware. The study says that figure could increase $5 million.