Report cites revenue benefits of allowing undocumented immigrants to work legally

TRENTON – New Jersey could see $81 million more in revenue if current undocumented immigrants were permitted to work legally. That is the conclusion of a report issued Wednesday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the report states that such immigrants already pay $476 million a year in New Jersey in state and local taxes.

“This report gives yet another reason for enacting sensible immigration policies,” New Jersey Policy Perspective President Gordon MacInnes said in a release accompanying the study. “The

contributions of presently undocumented residents are already significant. Granting them legal status to work would only increase those contributions.”

Matthew Gardner, executive director of ITEP, said in a release that “We know that undocumented immigrants already pay six or seven percent of their income in state and local

taxes, simply because they buy things and they rent or own homes, and sales and property taxes are paid automatically.

“With legalization, both wages and tax compliance will go up, resulting in substantial new revenues for states, especially from the income tax.”

Among other things, the report states that New Jersey’s undocumented immigrants pay $58 million in personal income taxes, $95.1 million in property taxes and $323 million in sales and excise taxes.

Nationally, undocumented immigrants pay an estimated total of $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.2 billion in property and $8 billion in sales and excise taxes.

The report is being issued at a time when immigration reform is a major topic in Congress.

Among other things, key Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, say a path to citizenship is critical to any immigration reform.

Report cites revenue benefits of allowing undocumented immigrants to work legally