Mastriano, Gebhard Propose Fee Targeting Illegal Immigrants

New revenue would provide property tax relief

HARRISBURG – Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) and Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48) today announced plans to introduce legislation aiming to deter illegal immigration and generate new revenue for property tax and rent relief.

“Illegal immigrants hurt Pennsylvania’s economy by sending money out of the United States and back to their country of origin,” Mastriano said. “This fee would ensure some of that money is used to provide property tax relief rather than going to support the economy of a foreign nation.”

The bill would impose a 10% fee on international remittances conducted by illegal immigrants who send money oversees through a money transfer licensee or agent.

Revenue generated through the new fee would be used to supplement the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which provides rebates of up to $1,000 to eligible older adults and people with disabilities age 18 and older.

“While we provide property tax relief, we can also discourage money transfers out of Pennsylvania that could go to support cartels that send dangerous drugs to our communities and perpetuate human trafficking – both disgusting ways to take advantage of other humans,” Gebhard said.

International remittances are money sent electronically out of the Pennsylvania economy and into the economies of international destinations. Illegal immigrants use remittances to send money to relatives and friends in their countries of origin. More than $70 billion is transferred annually from the United States to other nations.

The lawmakers’ bill is based on a similar concept enacted in Oklahoma in 2014. That law includes a 1% remittance fee. The most recent tax report shows the fee generated more than $15 million for Oklahoma.

“We’ve seen this concept has been successful in Oklahoma by preventing millions of dollars from escaping the state economy,” Mastriano said. “This is a commonsense proposal to deter illegal immigrants from draining money out of Pennsylvania’s economy.”

Mastriano and Gebhard currently are circulating a co-sponsorship memo seeking support from their colleagues prior to introducing the bill in the state Senate.

Media contact: Josh Herman

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