Three states have (or are) taking actions that will impact their illegal alien populations: California will give them lots of money, New York is distributing a smaller amount, and there is a jump ball or two in Massachusetts over driver’s licenses. An interesting Virginia move in this general arena was reported earlier.
California. The state, apparently flush with cash, has decided to give back $9.5 billion to California taxpayers, using a technique that does not seem to distinguish between legal and illegal residents. The payments will go to the state’s taxpayers, with a sliding scale of rebates: more for lower income people than for higher ones.
Rewarding illegal aliens who pay state taxes is, I suppose, a little better than rewarding all illegal aliens; using the taxpayer rolls, of course, simplifies the administration of the program.
A California couple with kids making less than $150,000 a year will get $1,050; couples with children in the next tier will get $750, and those in the top tier, making up to $500,000 a year, will get $600, with the figures relating to family size as well as income. These payments are probably going to be made this fall, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
New York. This state is doing something roughly comparable to what California has done, paying a tax rebate to homeowners without asking any questions about legal status. My sense is that illegal aliens are more likely to pay state income taxes than to own their own homes, so the New York program is narrower than the California one; further, it has a less generous payment schedule. Nevertheless, it will probably reach tens of thousands of more established illegal aliens.
All of this is in addition to another New York give-away last year, which was designed for some state income taxpayers among the illegal aliens, not the general population of all income tax payers, as we reported at the time. That program required applications, as the new one does not.
This year’s New York program, which includes illegal alien homeowners, will be handled centrally. If the state thinks you have money coming to you, it will mail you a check, which simplifies things for the government. The checks seem to be in the $100 to $400 range, one per homeowner, in a one-year-only program.
Massachusetts. Earlier this year, the state’s Democratic-controlled state legislature decided that illegal aliens can get driver’s licenses. The GOP objects and is organizing a petition campaign to place a referendum on the fall ballot that could overturn the legislature’s decision.
The opponents of the new law face two real challenges: 1) can they pull together 40,120 legitimate signatures between now and August 24; and 2) can they persuade a majority of the voters to support their position in the fall elections in a state that routinely votes for Democrats, usually in a big way?