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Study: Colorado’s Undocumented Workers Pay More in Taxes than they Receive in Services


Study: Colorado’s Undocumented Workers Pay More in Taxes than they Receive in Services

Anti-immigrant activists and politicians often assert that undocumented workers are causing state governments to go broke.  In Colorado, at least, that does not appear to be the case.

As a starting point, it is important to recognize that undocumented workers do pay taxes.  A new study by the Bell Policy Center reminds us, “Like other Coloradans, they live in houses and consume goods. And like all Colorado consumers, they cannot avoid paying sales taxes on goods purchased or property taxes on homes they own or as part of rent payments to landlords. In addition, at least half of undocumented immigrants work ‘on the books’ at jobs where state and federal income taxes are regularly withheld from their paychecks.”

In total, the study concludes that undocumented workers in Colorado pay slightly more in taxes than they receive in services [including education, emergency medical care, and incarceration amongst other services].  Specifically, undocumented workers are estimated to pay about $167.5 million in taxes while receiving $166.6 million in g0vernment services.  So in fact, households of undocumented workers have a slight net positive effect on the Colorado state budget.

-To see the study from the Bell Policy Center, click here.

-To see the study further analysis of undocumented workers’ contributions to and impact on Colorado’s economy from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, click here.

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