Steelman: Illegal workers shorting Missouri by $49 million

JEFFERSON CITY | Treasurer Sarah Steelman says Missouri is missing out on as much as $49 million a year from illegal immigrants not paying income taxes.

But Steelman may have overstated the impact.

Steelman's numbers are based on a Pew Hispanic Center estimate of up to 65,000 unauthorized immigrants in Missouri. Steelman assumed all of those are adults, 90 percent are working, and none are paying taxes.

But the Pew Hispanic Center numbers also includes children. The center's own report notes that about 65 percent of the illegal immigrant population is working. And advocates for immigrants say that contrary to Steelman's assumption, most undocumented workers are paying income taxes.