TN committee discusses refugee costs to taxpayers - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

TN committee discusses refugee costs to taxpayers

Posted: Updated:
  • KSLA News 12 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Lights at Haughton roadside memorial trashed, replaced

    Lights at Haughton roadside memorial trashed, replaced

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:14:41 GMT
    Missing items from a roadside memorial to an ArkLaTex girl who lost her life near the site has her family shocked and outraged.More >>
    Missing items from a roadside memorial to an ArkLaTex girl who lost her life near the site has her family shocked and outraged.More >>
  • South BC developer scraps subdivision plan, oil and gas company buys land

    South BC developer scraps subdivision plan, oil and gas company buys land

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:03:46 GMT
    Plans for a plot of land originally slated for a new subdivision in South Bossier City have been scratched, and while some neighbors are pleased to hear that, they aren't necessarily convinced that the replacement plan will be any better.More >>
    Plans for a plot of land originally slated for a new subdivision in South Bossier City have been scratched, and while some neighbors are pleased to hear that, they aren't necessarily convinced that the replacement plan will be any better.More >>
  • ETX boy has surgery to help him hear

    ETX boy has surgery to help him hear

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:44 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:44:52 GMT
    Jackson Foster with his parents after having surgery on his ear.Jackson Foster with his parents after having surgery on his ear.
    Earlier this year we told you about a Bowie County family wanting to have a special birthday for their soon-to-be two-year-old son. You may recall, this child is deaf, and though the family's plan to sing "Happy Birthday" to him this year will not take place, they are one step closer to their goal for birthdays to come.More >>
    Earlier this year we told you about a Bowie County family wanting to have a special birthday for their soon-to-be two-year-old son. You may recall, this child is deaf, and though the family's plan to sing "Happy Birthday" to him this year will not take place, they are one step closer to their goal for birthdays to come.More >>
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A hearing Wednesday at the state Capitol was jam-packed with people on both sides of an emotional political issue: refugee resettlement and what it costs taxpayers.

Last year, Tennessee accepted just over 1,200 refugees from all over the world, according to government statistics. Now, a new legislative subcommittee is asking if the federal government should be shifting that cost to Tennessee taxpayers.

"It raises the issue whether the state or Congress should pay the costs of the federal program," said Joanne Bregman, with the group Eagle Forum.

Bregman wants to know the hidden costs to Tennessee when refugees get food stamps, welfare, public housing and TennCare medical benefits for the first few months while they're here.

Nobody knows the exact figure, but the federal government does send the state about $9 million to support new refugees through Catholic Charities.

The Eagle Forum asked its members to pack the committee room Wednesday to support asking the state to calculate the cost of refugee resettlement.

"We would also like people who immigrate to be people that will be supportive and helpful to the American way - traditional American values, if you will," said Jerry Anderson, of Winchester.

Kurdish refugees founded the restaurant House of Kabob on Thompson Lane in the 1990s. Family member Kasar Abdullah says refugees like herself work hard, succeed and become taxpaying members of society.

"Let's do look at the direct and indirect costs of this program, but let's not dismiss the benefits and contributions to our economy," Abdullah said.

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition also believes the committee needs to see the big picture.

"How many refugees come and start small businesses and employ U.S.-born Tennesseans and add to the tax base? It seemed like the legislators - the committee - had blinders on today," said Stephen Fotopulos, with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

The state made a major change to its refugee resettlement program in 2008, under former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The state government bowed out of having oversight of the program, and that's when Catholic Charities took over under a contract with the federal government.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow