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Taxpaying Immigrants, Investment Opportunities for Underserved, and Indexing the Minimum Wage

The Urban Institute has analyzed the income and taxes paid by immigrants in the Washington, D.C. area -- and the million immigrants in the region pay $9.8 billion in taxes, about 18% of all taxes paid in the region. Undocumented immigrants paid and estimated $13,000 in taxes per household (19% of household income), which would likely increase substantially if they were given a path to legalization.

In encouraging news, the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Data Project, has found that the CDFI industry, the institutions providing loans and other financial services to people who are underserved by traditional financial outlets, has been growing at a compound rate of 17% per year.  With tens of billions in assets, these institutions helped finance 6,887 businesses, maintained 28,330 jobs, helped build or renovate 43,160 housing units, and helped tens of thousands of vulnerable borrowers avoid predatory lenders.

And as California debates whether to index its minimum wage to the inflation rate, the California Budget Project has a useful study highlighting that just since 2002, when it was last increased, the minimum wage's real value has declined by $0.88 per hour-- highlighting the harsh loss in wages for the working poor when the minimum wage is not indexed to inflation.