Colorado illegal immigrants pay enough taxes to offset cost of their social services, study says
Colorado's undocumented immigrants pay as much in taxes as they consume in mandated social services, according to a study Friday from The Bell Policy Center.
The state's estimated 180,000 undocumented immigrants paid $167.5 million in taxes in 2010, the Denver nonprofit's study said.
The largest share came from sales taxes - $114.6 million - with another $30.9 million paid in income taxes and $22 million in property taxes covered mostly through rent payments.
On the other side of the equation, the state spent $166.5 million in federally required services, the Bell study calculates. Those costs include $107.5 million for K-12 education, $26.5 million for emergency medical care and an estimated $32.5 million in incarceration costs.
"This analysis clearly shows that claims that undocumented immigrants are the cause of our budget problems are way off base," Rich Jones, director of policy and research at Bell, said in a statement.
A 2006 Bell study found undocumented immigrants paid $159 million to $194 million in taxes, while requiring $225 million in mandated services.
Bell researchers attribute the narrower gap to higher average household incomes and a tough economy that has shrunk the number of households.
Estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants in the state have fallen from 240,000 in 2007 to 180,000 in 2010, the study said.
Of those, an estimated 120,000 are in the state labor force, accounting for 4.5 percent of the total, with 107,500 actively employed.