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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Janison: NY economy could benefit from Obama's new immigration order

President Barack Obama signs two presidential memoranda associated

President Barack Obama signs two presidential memoranda associated with his actions on immigration in his office on Air Force One as he arrives at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Carolyn Kaster

PresidentBarack Obama's move to shield from deportation millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States stands to benefit New York's economy by boosting earnings -- and therefore tax payments -- of those affected, says a fiscal study from a progressive-oriented group.

The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that out of a total 873,000 people who are undocumented in New York, 258,000 are "potentially eligible" for deferred action under Obama's new executive order, unveiled last month.

If they can work legally, with temporary permits, they can earn more and boost state tax revenue by $184 million over five years, the institute says.

But that projection comes as the State Senate's Republican leader, Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, warned Medicaid rolls will swell. He urged added federal aid "to offset these new and unanticipated costs."

Skelos' Senate tossed out a possible $2 billion price tag. E.J. McMahon of the conservative-oriented Empire Center called that "on the high side," but agrees Obama's order further pressures Medicaid, "the second-biggest category of New York's state operating funds budget."

Skelos urged the state's two Democratic senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to push for help. They said Skelos should get his GOP colleagues in Washington to back an immigration reform bill. For his part, David Dyssegard Kallick of the Fiscal Policy Institute said of immigrants affected: "If they can act more freely in the economy, it is going to be good -- not just for them personally."

 

STEPPING FORWARD: Lawyer Michael Scotto says he plans to announce his candidacy next month for Nassau district attorney. "It's something I've thought about for a while. I think I would bring a lot to the position," said Scotto, 50, a Democrat who lives in Port Washington. For more than 22 years, until 2012, Scotto worked in the Manhattan district attorney's office. During that time, he served in various roles, including chief of the rackets bureau and deputy chief of its investigation division. He also headed labor racketeering efforts.

Scotto is currently in private practice.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has not said whether he will use his power to appoint a temporary successor to incumbent Democrat Kathleen Rice, who leaves next month for a congressional seat, or if he'd simply let Madeline Singas, Rice's chief assistant, serve temporarily through 2015. Either way, an election will be held next November. Scotto's the latest of several prospects to surface.

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