New analysis documents rising economic clout of Hispanic households in Oklahoma and the nation
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Published: 05-Jan-2015

OKLAHOMA CITY – According to a report from the Partnership for a New America, Hispanic residents of the United States have emerged as major contributors to the American economy.

An estimated 53 million Hispanics (19 million of them foreign-born) contributed $605 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013, the partnership's analysis concluded.

Additionally, Hispanics paid billions in federal, state and local taxes, with particularly significant income and tax burdens in Texas and California, McGuigan said. In a discussion of the results, polling consultant Pat McFerron said the data will help make the case for immigration reform.

Participants in a recent teleconference with state reporters, including this writer, were McFerron of CMA Strategies, President & CEO of the Greater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Francisco Trevino, Tyler Media TV general manager Armando Rubio, and Tyler Media General Sales Manager Chris Fusselman.

The quartet introduced the study, saying its findings document what is widely known in business circles: That Hispanics are now a key factor in the state and national economy.

In discussion with CapitolBeatOK.com, McFerron agreed with this reporter's premise, that President Barack Obama's late-2014 unilateral actions on immigration policy may slow down crafting of a workable immigration reform in Congress. McFerron commented, “The major issue for many in Congress is how the president made his move. It creates a new set of challenges. 

However, there is such a free-market demand for reform that you can make a strong programmatic argument in favor.”

The study is deemed “The Power of the Purse: The Contributions of Hispanics to America's spending power and tax revenues in 2013.” The partnership says the 53 million Hispanics resident in America in 2013 amounted to almost 17 percent of total population, the highest percentage in U.S. history.

Of that number, about 19 million individuals and families now residing in the U.S. came here from elsewhere.

The study, drawing from Census Bureau data and other sources, estimated that “between 2000 and 2010 [there was] a 54 percent increase in Hispanic populations in the Great Plans, which offset double-digit population declines of non-Hispanic whites.”

In terms of economic impact, “[R]oughly one out of every 10 dollars of total consumer spending in the United States was in the hands of Hispanic-led households.” Estimated after-tax income in Hispanic households was conservatively estimated at more than $605 billion, and is likely higher. In the Partnership's narrative, Hispanic disposable income is increasingly significant. 

Foreign-born Hispanic households had an estimated $287 billion in spending power.

Hispanic workers and households paid more than $190 billion in taxes in 2013, “including almost $67 billion in state and local tax revenues. … [F]oreign-born Hispanics contributed more than $86 billion in tax revenues nationwide. That included almost $32 billion in state and local taxes and more than $54 billion in taxes to the federal government.” Further, authors of the study stressed that Hispanic workers now pay billions of dollars into the U.S. Social Security and Medicare program.

The partnership's December teleconference provided broad information and estimates on the situation in Oklahoma, but the study itself included specific information about some states:

“In both Texas and California, Hispanic households had more than $100 billion in after-tax income in 2013, accounting for more than one of every five dollars available to spend in each state that year. In Arizona, a state with a rapidly growing Hispanic population, their earnings after taxes accounted for almost one-sixth of the spending power in the state. In Florida, Hispanics contributed more than one out of every six dollars in revenue paid by residents of the state.”

McFerron said annual spending originating in Hispanic households in Oklahoma has reached well over $1 billion, with approximately 8,000 businesses Hispanic-owned. In Tulsa, Trevino said, Hispanic-owned businesses employ roughly 10,000 workers.

Rubio pointed to Tyler Media's increased presence in Spanish language media over the past 15 years. Spanish language weather and news can readily be found on television and radio. Friedman believes “there has to be some kind or progress toward “a pathway to citizenship or to legal residency. He believes President Obama “has put the ball in the [congressional] Republicans' court.”

That message from Hispanic advocates of immigration reform is in essence, “You guys set the rules and we'll go play the game.” 

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