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VII. Conclusion

The immigration debate has become more heated in 2006. Congressional hearings were held across the U.S. to discuss the impact of undocumented immigrants on the economy and the culture. At the same time, two distinctly different pieces of legislation were voted out of the U.S. House and Senate.

The Comptroller’s office estimates the 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. Also, the Comptroller’s office estimates that state revenues collected from undocumented immigrants exceed what the state spent on services, with the difference being $424.7 million (Exhibit 18).

EXHIBIT 18
State Costs, Revenues and Economic Impact to Texas of Undocumented Immigrants
Fiscal Year 2005
(in millions)

Costs

Education -$967.8
Healthcare -$58.0
Incarceration -$130.6*
Total -$1,156.4

Revenues

State Revenue $999.0
School Property Tax $582.1
Total $1,581.1
Net Impact to State $424.7

Impact on the Economy

Gross State Product $17,700.0

Notes: Costs are to the state, not local government, special districts or hospitals.
Economic Impact reports loss to Gross State Product in Fixed 2000 dollars.
State costs for higher education are slightly overstated. “State Expenditures” includes all state costs for Section 54.052(j). Not all are undocumented.
*Estimate of incarceration costs is for Fiscal Year 2006.
Source: Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The largest cost factor was education, followed by incarceration and healthcare. Consumption taxes and fees, the largest of which is the sales tax, were the largest revenue generators from undocumented immigrants.

While not the focus of this report, some local costs and revenues were estimated. State-paid health care costs are a small percentage of total health care spending for undocumented immigrants. The Comptroller estimates cost to hospitals not reimbursed by state funds totaled $1.3 billion in 2004. Similarly, 2005 local costs for incarceration are estimated to be $141.9 million. The Comptroller estimates that undocumented immigrants paid more than $513 million in fiscal 2005 in local taxes, including city, county and special district sales and property taxes. While state revenues exceed state expenditures for undocumented immigrants, local governments and hospitals experience the opposite, with the estimated difference being $928.9 million for 2005.

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