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Utah could collect an extra $10.9 million a year in state and local tax revenue if President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration proceed.
And Utah could receive about twice that amount an extra $22.6 million annually if Congress gave all undocumented immigrants in the state a path to citizenship through immigration reform.
That's according to a study released Thursday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan research group that studies tax-policy issues.
Utah, however, is among two dozen Republican states that have united to challenge Obama's executive orders, which would give a temporary immigration reprieve to about 5.2 million undocumented immigrants nationwide. Courts have put those orders on hold as the case proceeds.
The new study says that nationally, state and local tax revenues would jump by an estimated $845 million a year if Obama's orders were enacted.
Most of the boost would come from immigrants fully paying personal income tax, which often does not happen now because many live in the shadows and are paid under the table.
But the study says some of the increase would come from higher wages.
Legal status would give immigrants better job opportunities, stop unscrupulous employers from taking advantage of them, and also lead to better training and higher-level skills.
"The numbers alone make a compelling case for reform," said Matthew Gardner, executive director of the institute.
"This analysis shows that undocumented immigrants already are paying billions in taxes to the state and local governments," he said. "If they are allowed to work in the country legally, their state and local tax contributions would considerably increase."
The study used estimates that Utah has about 88,000 undocumented immigrants, and that 47,000 of them or 53 percent could be given temporary legal status through Obama's executive orders.
It estimated that those potentially helped by the orders already pay $40 million a year in state and local sales, property and income taxes. It projects that could rise to $50.9 million. Personal income tax from them would more than double, from $7.3 million to $15.8 million a year.
The study noted that undocumented immigrants already are "paying sales and excise taxes when they purchase goods and services (for example on utilities, clothing and gasoline)," and they "also pay property taxes directly on their homes or indirectly as renters."
It said many of them also pay state income taxes.
"The best evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households currently file income-tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs)," the study said, "and many who do not file income tax returns still have taxes deducted from their paycheck."
It said if Congress enacted immigration reform that included a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants, overall state and local tax revenues from that group in Utah could grow from the current estimated $74.8 million to $97.4 million a year.
"If all 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the United States were granted lawful permanent residence and allowed to work in the country legally," the study said, "their state and local tax contributions would increase by more than $2.2 billion."