Gaffe by Republican Gubernatorial Candidate in Missouri on Undocumented Immigrants and Taxes

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A Republican candidate for Missouri Governor, State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, incorrectly told the Senate Pensions Committee that a study showed undocumented immigrants cause the state and federal government to lose between $242 and $449 million in income and payroll taxes. Later officials in her office acknowledged that she actually misinterpreted the study during her testimony.

Misinterpretation is one possible explanation. It's worth wondering why she was so ready to repeat the myth that undocumented workers don't pay taxes. Obviously, immigrants (documented or not) pay sales and property taxes and ITEP's own estimates show that about half of undocumented workers actually do pay taxes through regular payroll withholdings. If Ms. Steelman would like to be a little better informed (or a lot better informed) she can always read the Missouri Budget Project's report detailing how much state and local taxes are paid by undocumented workers in Missouri.

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