LatinaLista — Just a couple of days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, she told the Arizona Town Hall group in Tucson that she wasn’t worried that the new bill would hurt Arizona’s economy.
Well, coming from someone who should be able to see the “big picture” for her state, that statement made as much sense as saying that the new bill would not be racial profiling in any way, shape or form.
Now that it’s a couple of weeks since the signing, the bill’s impact has begun to be felt and it’s not a pretty picture for Arizona’s small Latino business owners or the state’s convention and tourism industry.
While it’s true that there has been a national call to boycott the state by sympathizers, opponents and immigrant advocates, it has to be made clear that the boycott is not what is affecting Latino small business owners — it’s the bill itself.
According to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, anecdotal news filtering into their offices is that many small Latino-owned businesses are finding sales down so low that many are facing the prospect of losing their businesses.
The reason is that the bulk of their clientele were immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, who don’t want to live in Arizona anymore because of the new bill and so have moved.
While supporters of the bill would herald this as a victory in saying that this was what the bill was supposed to do, it wasn’t supposed to put small business owners out of business — the guys who are the backbone of their local economy.
But they’re not the only ones seeing the impact of SB 1070. The state’s convention and visitor’s bureau are not feeling the impact but they know it’s their turn soon if the bill isn’t repealed.
Metropolitan Phoenix, which already has suffered convention cancellations because of Arizona’s new immigration law, risks losing as much as $90 million in hotel and convention business over the next five years because of the controversy, according to city estimates.
It’s a shame that the Governor didn’t read the study from a state researcher who found that the immigrant presence plays a large part in keeping Arizona’s economy viable.
The report Immigrants in Arizona: Fiscal and Economic Impacts found that:
Based on this study, the total state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion (about $860 million for naturalized citizens plus about $1.5 billion for non-citizens). Balanced against incremental fiscal costs of $1.4 billion for education, health care, and law enforcement, immigrants in Arizona generated a net 2004 fiscal contribution of about $940 million toward services such as public safety, libraries, road maintenance, and other areas. Because the incremental costs incurred by immigrants in these areas are difficult to measure directly, they are not included in this report.
The 2004 total economic output attributable to immigrant workers was about $44 billion ($15 billion for naturalized citizens and $29 billion for non-citizens).This output included $20 billion in labor and other income and resulted in approximately 400,000 full-time- equivalent jobs.
It’s a lot of dinero — money that Arizona is going to have to figure out how to compensate for its loss especially in light of the following:
Fiscal costs of immigrants in 2004 were an estimated $1.4 billion. Tax revenues attributable to immigrants as workers were approximately $2.4 billion, resulting in a net fiscal gain of approximately $940 million.
Can Gov. Brewer still not be worried about what will happen to the state’s economy because of this bill?