Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Doing the Math

I commented a few days ago on the Alabama Federation of Republican Women's anti-immigration campaign. According to those respectable ladies, it costs 118 billion dollars annually "to provide government services, such as food, education and health care, to" illegal immigrants and their families. I guess the argument is that these folks just come over here and demand hand outs while refusing to contribute anything to society.

So yesterday, the Bama Blog posted some new census figures about per capita tax burdens. According to the post, the average Alabamian pays about $ 1,600.00 in taxes a year. $ 1,300.00 of that is from sales taxes and income taxes.

I'll assume that all immigrants are working off the books, and thus pay no income taxes. However, they all eat, and wear clothes, so they all pay sales taxes. The average amount paid in Alabama is $ 800.00 annually. In Alabama, sales taxes pay for, among other things, public education, no?

So, it appears to me that in Alabama immigrants do contribute tax dollars for the public welfare. They might not contribute an amount equal to the benefits they receive, but I bet most of us are in the red until we reach middle age. In Alabama immigrants don't mooch of the government any more than the rest of us. Or am I missing something?

Btw, for some insight on the recent marches, compare this, and this.