Study shows House Bill 1804 more costly

Tuesday, March 25th 2008, 8:14 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

A new study released claims that House Bill 1804 will impact the state's economy in a bad way.

The Oklahoma Banker's Association which says it takes no position on the merits of House Bill 1804 produced the study using the expertise of an Edmond-based economic analysis group.

The study finds that if 1804 causes an out-migration of 50,000 foreign born workers, it will end up costing the Oklahoma economy a lot more in annual lost productivity than the $207 million illegal immigrants run up in medical, education, and incarceration costs a year.

The prime mover behind 1804, Rep. Randy Terrill isn't impressed with the study.

"The first fundamental flaw in this report, is that it totally ignores the net financial drain that illegal immigration is to the state of Oklahoma, instead focuses exclusively on this concocted economic number that they put out," Terrill said.

The bill has only recently taken effect, but opponents like Sen. Harry Coates say there's already evidence of a negative impact in the construction industry.

"What I'm hearing from contractors is they have lost a significant amount of work force, what I'm hearing is five percent of work force out there," Coates said.

Senator Coates would like to delay the start of the employee penalty portion of 1804 for another year.

That won't happen without a fight in the legislature.

Meanwhile, the state Chamber of Commerce has joined a federal lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of 1804.