Those sending money to Latin America from Texas may soon have to pay an eight percent fee if a bill from Republican state Rep Leo Berman is approved.
Late Monday, Berman’s bill was presented to a House committee, and it states that an eight percent (of the total amount) fee will be added for money leaving Texas and headed to Mexico or Latin America for personal reasons. The fee would not be added to wire transfers to Canada or England though.
Berman claims the bill would allow for the recoupment of some of the money healthcare for undocumented immigrants has cost the state. Right now, Texas faces a “budget shortfall” of as much as $27 billion.
Budget board officials believe that if Berman’s bill is approved, the fees could add up about $60 million annually for the state.
Though the fee would have to be paid by everyone sending money south, those that could provide proof of legal residency or citizenship would have to fill out forms and mail them to the state comptroller for a refund.
State Rep. Dee Margo (R- El Paso) says he is not behind the bill, as the cost of collecting the fee would likely exceed the revenue generated.
“It’s harsh and it’s punitive and seems to be singling out a particular group,” Margo said.
Last year, Caribbean and Latin American immigrants working in the U.S. sent around $58.9 billion in remittances to their home countries. Mexico received about $21.3 billion of that total.