Boo hoo alert!
Appleseed is mobilizing to oppose a recently enacted Oklahoma tax on remittances, passed by the state legislature in June. The first of its kind, the law imposes a five dollar fee on each remittance transaction made through a licensed money transmitter, plus an additional fee of one percent of amounts greater than five hundred dollars.As far as I know, my 2002 opinion piece in the Washington Times (Should immigrants be taxed?) was the first suggestion that taxation might be utilized to make illegal immigration more troublesome to the practicioners. The inspiration was the saga of how gangster Al Capone was brought down by prosecution on tax evasion. (See The Untouchables for more.) Plus the general principle that heavy taxation has a dampening effect on behaviors so targeted.
Having long advocated for fairer practices in the remittance market, Appleseed Centers have already helped block similar measures in Texas, Nebraska and Georgia. In response to the new tax, Appleseed is working with Centers, the White House, industry, and grassroots groups on strategies to overturn or ameliorate the effects of this bill and to ensure that similar bills are not replicated elsewhere.
Five dollars and a one percent tax on remittances larger than $500 can hardly be considered onerous, but the open-borders squawk machine is blasting at full throttle. One example is evident in an Oklahoma news report [Journal Record, July 6, 2009]: Officials defend wire transfer fee for funding drug-enforcement activities.
OKLAHOMA CITY — State officials say a fee on wire transfers of money is needed to help fund drug-enforcement activities. Others say the fee is discriminatory and will harm the ability of low-income people to send money to their families in other countries. [...]What a crybaby. You would think the new tax was a massive burden, but it's a dinky one percent plus change. Oklahoma state sales tax is 4.5 percent, by comparison. If illegal aliens don't like paying a tiny tax to aid drug enforcement (made more necessary by Mexican cartels increasing activities in America), then they can mosey on home, which they should do anyway.
David Landsman is executive director of the National Money Transmitters Association, based in Great Neck, N.Y. He said the organization is made up of about 30 smaller money-transfer companies.
"I'm concerned for my industry and I'm concerned for the consumers that use our industry," Landsman said. "We work through agents and we help people send money to their countries of origin. There are some undocumented aliens among our clientele."
Landsman said several states have attempted to adopt such laws.
"Most of them are doing it in order to punish undocumented aliens," he said.
Landsman termed the income tax-based refund process "cynical."
My original suggestion in 2002 was that a remittance tax of 10 to 15 percent on foreign money transfers could help pay for the free-to-them healthcare costs which aliens incur.
According to the World Bank, immigrants working in the U.S. sent more than $50 billion back to their native countries last year. Requiring that a small premium be paid on strip-mining at that level hardly seems excessive.