Proposition 187: Don't Mess with Texas

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Proposition 187: Don't Mess With Texas

In November of 1994, Californians passed the most controversial piece of state legislation this decade. Proposition 187 was designed to stem the flow of illegal aliens into California by withholding all non-emergency medical benefits from non-naturalized citizens. Latinos turned out in record numbers to voice their disapproval, and for good reason too. The health care resolutions of Proposition 187 were products of poor reason and unsound economic judgment. The resolutions did not get the state any closer to a balanced budget, and only served to worsen the health care outlook for the future of California. It is clear that Proposition 187 was a mistake, and should not be encouraged to be repeated in Texas.

The most popular reason for passage, that supporters of Proposition 187 used, was the theory that a cut in illegal health services would save state taxpayers several million dollars a year. This argument only applies to states that have a personal income tax, often used to help fund health care for the state, and when the illegal immigrants avoid paying this tax. Texas does not have such a tax, so health care is funded by the taxes that everyone in the state pays. That means that illegal aliens are paying just as much as "real Americans" are in sales taxes, gas taxes, liquor taxes, and cigarette taxes. For example, illegal aliens in San Diego, California accounted for 26.6 million dollars in health care costs in 1994 (Serb 63). Not a single person would deny that this is a lot of money, and therefore would seem to be an excellent reason to cut funding right this minute. However, the logical person has to realize how important those same aliens are to filling the state's excise tax coffers each year. Excise taxes paid by ‘illegals' were accounting for up 60.5 million in state tax alone (63). In retrospect, it hardly seems right to say that illegal immigrants are not paying their fair tax share for their health...
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