Pennsylvania Republicans seek to levy remittances from illegal immigrants to fund property tax relief

A group of Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania have introduced a bill that would impose a levy on international remittances made by illegal immigrants and divert revenue to the Commonwealth property tax and rent relief fund.

The legislation, in the form of an amendment to the Commercial Money Transmitters License Act of 1965, was sponsored by 2022 gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator from Gettysburg. He had been joined by at least three other senators on Friday afternoon.

Mastriano told Fox News on Friday that with the looming repeal of Title 42 protections that allowed the United States to return illegal immigrants to Mexico due to COVID-19 concerns, another wave of migrants is likely to come. occur.

“It is safe to assume that many will head north to states like Pennsylvania. Once settled in a new state, illegal immigrants primarily use a money transfer agent such as Western Union to send their earnings back to their country of origin,” the senator said.

“[This] is a single invoice that will impose fees on these types of transactions. It’s a great way to deter illegal immigration – and we can use this new revenue for tax breaks for legal citizens of our Commonwealth,” he told Fox News.

The lawmaker said that international cash remittances take money out of the state economy and instead benefit foreign countries.

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“More than $70 billion is transferred annually from the United States to the economies of recipient countries,” he said.

The property tax and rent rebate program, devised by the state legislature in 1971, has provided $6.8 billion in public funds since then, according to figures cited in a statement from state lawmakers. .

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Mastriano was later joined in sponsoring the legislation by State Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Mount Pocono, who recently drafted a plan that would move illegal immigrants flown into Pennsylvania on government-sanctioned “ghost flights.” Biden administration to the president’s home state of Delaware. .

If illegal immigrant resettlement is “good enough for Pennsylvania, then why not redirect resettlement to Delaware?” Scavello said in January after officials in his state publicly questioned arrivals often in the dark of night.

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At the time, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s office told Fox News that such flights to Wilkes-Barre Airport in Pennsylvania did not end in the city, but instead went through sponsors and guardians. somewhere else.

Both Mastriano and Scavello have criticized Pennsylvania’s high property taxes, with Scavello saying some migrants put additional stress on the public education system funded by this revenue stream.

The other two sponsors of the installment bill are Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-Stewartstown, and Pat Stefano, R-Somerset.

Penny D. Jackson