2003 September 20 Saturday
US State Budgets And Immigration

David Ignatius has a column in the Washington Post which has a general thrust aimed at attacking Bush on the federal budget and economics. While the column reads like a predictable partisan liberal Democrat's slam on a Republcan president (yawn) it does bring up an interesting quote from Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee about his state budget:

Huckabee illustrates how the fiscal crunch is playing out across the country. He says that 91 percent of his budget now goes for education, Medicaid and prisons. These amount to fixed costs. Because of declining revenues, he had to cut his budget 11 percent over the past two years -- despite raising the state's tobacco tax last May.

Here's what is interesting about it from an immigration standpoint: illegal immigrants generate more in costs for education, Medicaid and prisons than do native born citizens because the illegals are less educated, have larger families that have to be educated, pay less in taxes, most don't have medical insurance, and commit crimes at a higher rate. Well, if 91% of a state's budget is in spending categories that illegal immigrants (and, for that matter, low-skilled legal immigrants) drive up while the immigrants pay less in taxes then that illustrates why another state, California, has been so heavily impacted by its millions of illegal immigrants and their children.

California has been lucky to have large high tech industries with a lot of highly skilled and highly paid workers to provide a tax base for funding the costs incurred by the state and local governments for millions of low skilled immigrants. In spite of this California now has high income and sales taxes and yet it finds itself saddled with a large state budget deficit. By contrast, a poor state like Arkansas could not afford a large influx of illegals. As illegals have begun to spread more widely across the US this is going to exacerbate state government budget burdens in states that are already having a tough time making ends meet.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 September 20 08:33 PM  Immigration Welfare State


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