Undocumented Oregonians pay $81 million in state and local taxes

News Release
April 17, 2017

A group of taxpaying Oregonians is increasingly fearful of federal agents: undocumented workers. This group of immigrants, under increased threat of deportation by the Trump Administration, pay millions in Oregon taxes, according to a new report by the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

“Undocumented workers contribute to Oregon’s economy in many ways, including supporting our schools and other public services, through the taxes they pay,” said Center analyst Janet Bauer, who pegged the annual state and local taxes payments made by Oregon’s undocumented workers at about $81 million.

“Their tax contributions would be even larger if they gained legal status,” she added.

When previously undocumented workers gain legal status, they tend to earn more and to consume more goods and services, Bauer explained. The increased earnings and spending means that they also contribute more in income, property, and excise taxes. And because they must abide by state and local tax systems, legal status for previously undocumented workers results in more workers paying income taxes.

State and local tax revenues would jump by about $39 million if undocumented Oregonians gained a path to citizenship, according to the Center. That would increase their tax contributions to such an extent that, as a share of income, these would workers would pay more in state and local taxes than Oregon’s wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers.

“Stepped up efforts to deport immigrant workers ends up shattering families, gutting family resources, and harming local economies,” said Bauer. “Add to those ills the fact that you’re getting rid of taxpaying residents.”

The Oregon Center for Public Policy (www.ocpp.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit institute that does in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax and economic issues. The Center’s goal is to improve decision making and generate more opportunities for all Oregonians.