Capitol Alert

Do California’s undocumented immigrants cost – or save – taxpayer dollars?

In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Lordes Reboyoso, right, yells at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco.
In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Lordes Reboyoso, right, yells at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco. AP

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As California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and other Democratic lawmakers gain national attention for the effort to make California the first state to declare it self a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants, a new report assesses the economic contributions of immigrants every year.

The 2.7 million undocumented immigrants who call California home contribute about $3 billion in taxes to the state’s economy each year, according to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit tax research organization.

Of that, nearly $30 million in property and sales tax revenue goes to Sacramento County.

But that could be changing under the Trump administration, and the president’s promised immigration crackdown. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly have said being in the U.S. without proper authorization is a crime, leading some undocumented people to retreat back into the shadows, immigration advocates have said.

Some argue undocumented immigrants, and sanctuary cities themselves, actually cost taxpayers money.

The nonprofit Federation for American Immigration Reform calls illegal immigration a “huge burden” for state and local governments, where taxpayer money is used to pay for health care, public safety and other services for undocumented people. “Sanctuary cities” increase costs to local government, the group argues.

State lawmakers often point to immigrants’ role in boosting the state’s economic gains in recent years when making the case for new laws to expand protections for the undocumented.

If the state were to allow undocumented immigrants to become citizens, California could see increased prosperity, the report found. State and local tax revenue would increase by an additional $8.4 million per year.

RISING TAXES: State Republican lawmakers are pushing back on the transportation package signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, which raises gas taxes and vehicle license fees.

A petition being circulated by the California Republican Party targets the deal.

“Enough is enough! Add your name here and say NO new taxes,” the petition says. “The governor and his fellow Democrats sold us out. Now it’s time for them to feel the heat –sign the petition TODAY!”

WORTH REPEATING: “Mom & Dad may have degrees from top universities, but I bet they don’t have one of these.” –Tweet from Colusa, corgi of Gov. Jerry Brown, with a certificate, “Rattlesnake Avoidance Training.”

HOUSING CRISIS: California lawmakers and real estate representatives will discuss how the state can address the widening housing crisis by spurring new development and increasing home-ownership.

A panel discussion is set for 12 to 1:15 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center. Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, and Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, will discuss current legislation along with Geoff McIntosh, president of the California Association of Realtors.

Topics include how the state can increase housing production, the battle over rent control, tax reform and environmental protection.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS: State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, wants young people to learn about her bill that would allow college students to access early medical abortion services on campus. She’s expected to addresses a meeting of the Sacramento County Young Democrats at 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol Event Center on 11th St., and discuss her Senate Bill 320.

FIRST 100 DAYS: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reaches his 100th day in office today. Appointed by Brown last year to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Kamala Harris, Becerra is expected to discuss challenges the state faces under the Trump administration, and how to “keep California moving foward.” A news conference is set for 10:30 a.m. in Sacramento.

GOLDEN STATE BACKLASH: Rallies at the Capitol are planned to put pressure on the Trump administration, and Republicans in Congress, to back away from proposals to repeal Obamacare and roll back protections under the Endangered Species Act.

One action, beginning at 10 a.m. at Capitol Park, is aimed at denouncing actions seen as a threat by Republicans to weaken the Endangered Species Act, signed by former President Richard Nixon in 1973.

Another rally at the Capitol, also set for 10 a.m., is expected to draw up to 300 people to celebrate health care gains made in California under the Affordable Care Act, with roughly 5 million newly insured since the federal health care law took effect.

State lawmakers will discuss new legislation aimed at improving care. Speakers include Sens. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. Others are Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, and Assemblymen Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, and Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno.

MUST READ: Here’s how Donald Trump’s attorney general could change life in California.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Janet Napolitano explains her involvement in audit of UC: ‘We could have handled this better’

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