Drop in Refugee Resettlement Could Affect Syracuse Economy

January 30, 2018. This article discusses the economic impacts that the cut in refugee resettlement could have on the upstate city, Syracuse, New York. Refugees have helped reverse population decline, added to the labor force, opened businesses, revamped vacant property and contributed to local and state taxes.

Refugees have higher labor force participation rate than U.S.-born (workers),” said Cyierra Roldan, a policy analyst at the Fiscal Policy Institute. “They are filling open jobs, adding workforce.”

Roldan added that refugees are saving the homes of Syracuse by occupying what would be empty real estate.

“The property that would have remained vacant is now being taken up and rebuilt and transformed,” Roldan said. “They are more likely to be homeowners in 10 years.”

“Refugees do take a little help on getting started, but over time they become self-sufficient. It is sort of like a little investment in the beginning and then you get a lot in return,” Roldan said. “When refugees succeed, everyone succeeds because the economy is succeeding.”

Here is the link to the Daily Orange.

How Trump’s Immigration Plan Could Impact Buffalo

January 29, 2018. This article discusses the impacts of Trump administration’s decision on a policy to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the cut to legal immigration and the family reunification immigration policy, also known as “chain migration.” The Trump administration wants to change to a skill-based immigration system. The article outlines the devastating effects that upstate cities such as Buffalo, and other rustbelt cities will endure. These include farmworker labor shortages for farms who use seasonal immigrant workers, population decline and a decline in business growth. It goes on to discuss how Trump’s bill is misleading and controversial because although Dreamers are granted a pathway to citizenship, it tears families apart and pits parents and their children against each other.

But to hear immigration experts tell it, Trump’s proposal is otherwise a nightmare – for cities like Buffalo that depend on immigration to stem population loss, for current immigrants who want to reunite with family, and for farmers and other business people who hope immigration can solve their labor shortages.

“It’s great news for one group – the Dreamers – but bad news for lots of other people,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, deputy director and director of immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute, a left-leaning Albany think tank. “And it’s especially bad news for places like Buffalo, which have depended on refugees and other immigrants to revitalize the economy and the population.”

Kallick, who worked on a study finding that the number of immigrant-owned businesses more than doubled in Buffalo between 2000 and 2013, fears that sort of growth will be cut off if immigration is curtailed.

“This change would make a huge difference, especially in places where population growth is such a challenge,” he said.

Here is the link to The Buffalo News.


Immigrants Are Part of Our Economic Growth

Blame Congress, Not Immigrants, If America’s Taxes Don’t Pay for Our Expenses

December 25, 2018. Recently, WhiteHouse.gov put up a post on its web site claiming that immigration results in “$300 billion annually in net fiscal costs on U.S. taxpayers.”

As I said in talking with PolitiFact, this is just sophistry. The United States has been running a deficit for years. So, by definition, all Americans have a bigger net cost than contribution – 1st generation immigrants, 2nd generation immigrants, and those of us who have been here for 3 or more generations. That’s a failure of tax policy, not a story about immigrants. The United States is not raising enough revenue to pay for our expenses, a situation made only worse by the new tax law.

FPI says: “Just Sophistry…”

It’s interesting to note, though, that in the analysis the president is referring to, the group that does better than all other groups, by the measure of tax contributions versus government costs, is second generation immigrants. The “costs on U.S. tax payers” actually includes immigrant taxpayers as well as everyone else. And, this analysis has nothing to do with “low-skilled” or “high-skilled,” it’s everyone.

Here’s the main story: Immigrants are in the long run helping our economy grow, and as a result helping us to pay off government debt. As was the case with retiring America’s World War II debt, the best solution is to see overall economic growth. Having a bigger and younger population in the future will make it far more manageable to pay off the debt we’re accumulating today, and to continue to sustain programs to pay for older Americans like Social Security and Medicare.

The way to get the biggest economic and fiscal contribution from immigrants is to fix our immigration system. That means creating a properly working enforcement system, fixing the vastly outdated visa process, and yes, making it possible for those who are currently undocumented to earn citizenship,

The Senate had a reasonable compromise to do just that in 2013. It was called S. 744, and it passed passed by a vote of 68-32 with broad bipartisan support. Here’s what the CBO said about that bill:

“On balance, the economic impacts not included in the cost estimate would have no significant net effect on federal budget deficits during the coming decade and would reduce deficits during the following decade. Taking into account a limited set of economic effects, the cost estimate shows that changes in direct spending and revenues under the legislation would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the 2014–2023 period and by roughly $700 billion over the 2024–2033 period.”

Even though the Senate bill seemed to have a majority of support in the House, it never came to a vote. The reason, it seems, is that while it was supported by many Republicans as well as many Democrats, it was not supported by the majority of Republicans the so-called “majority of the majority.” The majority of the majority may be the minority in the House of Representatives, but it can be enough to block a vote.

Finally, a last thought about the White House posting: It’s hard to abide any lectures about fiscal rectitude from an administration that just passed a reckless tax bill estimated to cost $1 to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.


2018 FPI State Budget Briefing in Albany

On Tuesday morning, February 13, 2018, the Fiscal Policy Institute will present its 28th annual budget briefing in Meeting Room 7 of the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. A complimentary breakfast and check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. Our presentation begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 10:15 a.m. We hope that you and/or your colleagues will be able to join us for what we are confident will be a useful and informative session. You can RSVP online here.

The briefing will examine various aspects of the governor’s Executive Budget including such topics as:

  • Income Inequality in New York State
  • Federal Tax Law changes and what they mean for New York State
  • Federal Funding at Risk
  • Austerity Budgeting and Impacts of the two percent state spending cap
  • Reimagining New York’s Tax Code – Conformity issues and SALT Workarounds
  • Raising Revenue to address budget shortfalls and looming cuts from D.C.
  • FY 2019 Executive Budget: What are the major policy issues that the governor addresses in the Executive Budget? What are the glaring omissions in the issues being addressed?
  • Shared Opportunity Agenda for New York: FPI will outline progressive public policies that can be adopted to ensure that we create more shared opportunities to help lift New Yorkers out of poverty and provide avenues for upward mobility.


If you have any questions about the February 13th briefing or about any budget or economic policy issues, please contact us by telephone at 518-786-3156 or by e-mail at kmoses@fiscalpolicy.org. For more information on FPI and its work, and for copies of all of FPI’s publications, please visit our website at www.fiscalpolicy.org.


Please register by Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Do Immigrants Cost U.S. Taxpayers $300 Billion Annually?

January 24, 2018. The Trump administration argues that “chain migration” is bad for the United States, and that immigrants should be admitted based upon their skills. This article looks into the administration’s claim that “current immigration policy imposes as much as $300 billion annually in net fiscal costs on U.S. taxpayers,” that was found in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report. Politifact found that although this finding is accurately cited from the the NAS report, the Trump administration left out details that further explain the effects of chain migration. It found that the NAS report provides an analysis based on multiple scenarists that lead to different estimates of the fiscal burden, ranging from $279 billion and $43 billion. The administration also didn’t take into account that although first-generation immigrants are more costly, second generation immigrants pay more in taxes than their parents and their U.S-born counterparts. Politifact determined that the Trump administration only used one finding from the report but left out important details and rated the claim as half true.

The National Academies found that first-generation immigrants (who were born outside of the United States) cost governments more money than the native-born population. The costs are largely taken on by state and local governments that educate the immigrants’ children.

David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute, said, “This is just sophistry.”

Since the United States has been running a deficit for years, “by definition, all Americans have a bigger net cost than contribution — first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants, and those of us who have been here for three or more generations,” he said. “That’s a failure of tax policy, not a story about immigrants.”

Here is the link to Politifact.

The President Needs A Lesson: Compassion 101

January 22, 2018. In this column, the author, Andrew Atkins, describes the time that he received a card from a colleague, who is an immigrant from  Rawanda. This card thanked him for his contributions to the staff. The author highlights that his colleague, who fled he genocide in Rwanda, feels safe and welcomed in America and that he demonstrates acts of empathy, compassion and kindness regardless of the demeaning rhetoric about immigrants coming from the federal administration. The author goes on to state that President Trump could learn about compassion, empathy and kindness from his colleague.

Historically, our country has been built by immigrants, and it stands to reason we should embrace them. However, some argue that immigrants are criminals and take away jobs from U.S. citizens.

For those who assert that immigrants take away our jobs, the opposite proves true. As Avianne Tan reports for ABC News, David Kallick, the director of the Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute explains that immigrants improve wages and create more job opportunities for native workers.

“The fact is that immigrants often push U.S.-born workers up in the labor market rather than out of it,” he said.

Here is the link to Kentwired.

Cuomo Rails at Tax Bill, 
but His Proposals are Modest

January 22, 2018. According to this article, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been almost apoplectic about the impact of the Republican tax bill on New York. It is a “missile” aimed directly at the state, he bellowed last week while unveiling his budget.

But while his bark is loud, his bite is very cautious. The big question is how the politics of the tax bill will play out as Albany seeks to close a budget deficit as large as $6 billion and adjust the state’s tax system to the new federal tax law.

Progressives seeking higher taxes embraced the governor’s analysis but proposed much farther-reaching changes. The Fiscal Policy Institute called for a higher millionaires’ tax, a mansion or pied-à-terre property tax and the old warhorse of a stock-transfer tax.

Access Full Article HERE.

Immigrants in the 13th Congressional District

January 18, 2018. In the current political context, a number of members of congress are thinking about immigration even more than they usually do. To inform the discussion, FPI occasionally provides information about the residents of different congressional districts. Here is a little bit of background on the 13th Congressional District located in New York City, which includes upper Manhattan and a part of the Bronx.

There are 3.1 million immigrants living in New York City, and 280,000 in the 13th Congressional District. The immigrant share in this district mirrors the share of New York City, with 37 percent of the population born in another country. The same is true for immigration status. About half of the residents in both the 13th Congressional District and New York City as a whole are naturalized citizens and half are not. [See Figure 1]

Figure 1.

But, New York is a city of neighborhoods. Although the share of immigrants in the 13th district are parallel to those of the city overall, the country of origin for immigrants is very different. In New York City, the population is extraordinarily diverse and no one country of origin dominates. Dominicans, the largest immigrant group, make up 13 percent of the city’s total immigrant population, with the Chinese (10 percent), Mexican (6 percent), and Jamaican (6 percent) population following closely behind. [See figure 2]

In the 13th Congressional District, there is one group that is much larger than the others: Dominicans make up almost half of all immigrants (48 percent) in the district. After the Dominican Republic, the top 15 groups include many from the Mexico and Central and South America, both Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries (Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba), Asian and Pacific Island countries (China, Bangladesh, Philippines, India), and one country in Africa, Ghana. [See figure 2]

Figure 2.

Click here for a printable fact sheet on the 13th Congressional District.

By: David Dyssegaard Kallick and Cyierra Roldan

In Cuomo’s Budget Address, What’s Left Out Says as Much as What’s Said

January 18, 2018. According to this article, experts say that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget address lacked  detail. As he did in the State of the State, the Governor laid out the case that New York is under attack from the new federal tax law, thanks to a controversial $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction that will hammer many high-income New Yorkers, yet critics and budget experts alike noted that the governor still didn’t explain how he would carry out all of the goals laid out in his State of the State address earlier this month.

Generally, fiscal policy experts agreed that the governor spent little time elaborating on exactly how he planned to raise and spend New Yorkers’ money during the budget address, leaving them to wonder how Cuomo’s raft of proposals would meet his stated goals, as they and the rest of Albany poured over the notoriously dense budget documents.

For Ron Deutsch, executive director of left-leaning Fiscal Policy Institute, it appeared what was missing from Cuomo’s budget presentation was enough ways to raise the money needed to close the state’s $4.4 billion budget gap

Cuomo “comes up with a few solid mechanisms to basically generate some needed revenue,” said Deutsch. “We would suggest he actually needs to do more to raise revenue. So one of the things we would be suggesting, and I think the governor may be alluding to this a bit, would be to develop a recapture tax where you try and recapture a substantial percentage of the federal tax cuts from both businesses and individuals who are going to be receiving a big windfall.”

Deutsch said a stock transfer tax, a mansion tax, or a pied-a-terre tax could be used to make up the difference.

Access Full Article HERE

Questions Dog Cuomo Tax Gambit

January 17, 2018. According to this article, Governor Andrew Cuomo has railed and railed against the federal tax overhaul that took effect this month. It’s an “all-out direct attack on New York state’s economic future,” he said during his State of the State address recently. Cuomo’s heavily criticized the law’s $10,000 cap on the amount of state income tax and local property tax payments. The state could overhaul its tax code to reduce reliance on personal income taxes and instead adopt a statewide payroll tax system. He tossed the idea out during his State of the State and could include more details in his budget proposal, which he was set to release Tuesday afternoon.

The governor is exploring a switch from income to payroll taxes because businesses can deduct those payments from their federal returns without worrying about a cap. Lawmakers in California and New Jersey have floated similar ideas.

 “I think it’s feasible and it’s worthy of review,” says Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-aligned think tank. “That’s what we’re doing right now.”

Deutsch says he commends the governor for trying to creatively address a problem caused by the new tax laws, but his organization wants to make sure any plan doesn’t hurt lower-income workers. It also wants to make sure the state would have adequate funds to support critical programs, he says.

Deutsch and E.J. McMahon, a tax expert at the conservative Empire Center think tank, both point out that the state’s income tax is progressive. People pay different rates at different income levels, but payroll tax rates are flat.


Access to Full Article HERE.