Tax Day A Reminder That Latino Workers Are Paying Their Fare Share Of Taxes

April 17 2012

Joseph Rendeiro
(202) 776-1566

In the midst of a battle over how to balance the country’s budget, millions of Americans today are once again paying their income taxes, which are an important part of the revenue our country needs to fund critical investments in education, workforce development, infrastructure, health care, and countless other areas that underpin our nation’s long-term competitiveness and prosperity. Latino workers are contributing their fair share.

Despite popular myths, all workers, including immigrant workers, pay taxes in America as a result of their hard work. A recent study by Citizens for Tax Justice revealed that the lowest-income workers—who average about $13,000 in annual earnings—paid a total of 17% (or $2,262) of their income on state, local, and federal taxes. And, according to the Social Security Chief Actuary, undocumented workers paid $12 billion in payroll taxes to Social Security in 2007, though they are ineligible to receive benefits.

But some are not interested in fairness and say that low-income families should bear an even greater tax burden to help close the deficit. Critics are sharpening their knives to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, both of which give an income tax refund to low-income working taxpayers to supplement their earnings.

The first targets for cuts are Latino children. On Wednesday, April 18, the House Ways and Means Committee is taking a straight up-or-down vote on H.R. 1956, a bill that would strip hardworking taxpaying families of their right to claim the Child Tax Credit if they pay taxes with an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). This would harm over four million Latino children in families that earn an average of $21,000 per year, costing each family approximately $1,800.

“The refundable tax credits prevent millions of Latinos families from falling deeper into poverty and help low-income working families feed and house their children so that they can grow into the strong and healthy adult workers we need,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at NCLR (National Council of La Raza). “The Latino community is closely watching to see if politicians target Latino children for the deepest cuts and will hold elected officials accountable.”

A serious deficit reduction plan must include revenue increases—not just spending cuts—as part of the equation. The wealthiest Americans should also contribute to deficit reduction through new proposals like the Buffett Rule. Refusing to increase revenue will force even deeper cuts to programs that help families raise children, afford health care or a college education, and move into the middle class.

Our nation needs a tax policy that grows the economy, invests in the future, and protects vulnerable people.


Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas