In my opinion, one of the driving forces behind the epidemic of El Paso corruption is El Paso’s dependence on government largess for private revenues. Basically, with very few exceptions, El Paso’s businesses are dependent on monies from government entities. The vicious economic cycle that exists is that the governments’ expenditures trickle down to the private sector that in turn trickles back up to the government entities in the form of taxes.

It is an unsustainable economic model.

During the last few years, the city leaders in the form of government officials and “business” leaders that sustain them through the various business chambers of commerce have harped on the “economic growth” of El Paso even through the national recessions. The news media, mainly the El Paso Times masquerading as a newspaper furthers this illusions by reprinting the various press releases issued to them.

The illusion of economic prosperity ignores one fundamental reality. The fact that the temporary “economic renaissance” in El Paso was driven by three major factors; federal government expenditures at the military base and hospital, the temporary influx of Mexican monies because of the uncertainty in Juárez and local housing market’s insulation of the housing crisis by the lack of speculative monies on housing.

Those temporary economic drivers have now ended and El Paso continues on the vicious economic circle it has created for itself. It works like this. I’ll use the city government as an example however it works the same with all of the other government entities.

The city contracts a contractor to build a building. The contractor then contracts various professional entities such as architects and engineers. In turn, all three professional entities contract labor to produce their work product. Some require a small subset of professional “white-collar” workers while “blue-collar” workers drive the majority of the labor.

Keeping in mind that the “creative services” companies are unable to sustain their overhead without government work thus the vicious cycle begins. Architects, engineers and designers, or public relations firms cannot sustain their operations in the El Paso economy without government work. The public relations firms become the key to sustaining the failed economic cycle.

The public relations firms through their various forms are tasked and paid, to further manufacture the illusion necessary to keep the “economic model” purring along. Consider the following.

The city hires a public relations firm to “inform” the community about the city’s activities. At the same time, the contractors hire the public relations firms to inform the community about the need to vote a necessary bond for a quality of life project or a new high school. The public relations firm is like a hydra with many heads. While one focuses on the “It’s all good El Paso” another focuses on the managing the political climate through electoral campaign strategies, fund raising and political whisper campaigns through useful idiots.

Thus, the public relations firms are the lynchpins to the failed economic model. You see, not only do the public relations firms create the necessary environment for a successful political campaign thus putting them in a position to control the political outcome they are also the gateway to the revenues the local news media desperately needs to sustain their own business model. Likewise, the contractors, and by extension the architects and the engineers need the public relations firms to create the environment for another successful bond to fund yet another unnecessary public works.

As the “creatives” work the monies they generate from public jobs, works its way down the economy through the grocery stores, restaurants and other El Paso businesses. At the same time, the employees who draw paychecks from the government entities also contribute their paychecks through the cycle of grocery stores, restaurants and other local businesses.

You now have two economic activities that are very dependent on government monies; the “creative” and the public employees. The more monies that flow through them the “healthier” the economic cycle for the stores, restaurants and so on. This dependence is now the single most important voting block come election night.

And this brings us back to the public relations firms that create the illusion that all is well in El Paso. After all, the city is one of the safest in the nation, the drugs magically disappear before reappearing in cities like Chicago or Houston and there is no corruption at the city.

By now, you know who funds the economic cycle, you the taxpayer. The problem is that instead of creating new monies to cycle through the local economy El Paso is stuck in a vicious cycle of generating money from the taxpayers of the community. A viable economic engine makes products or provides services that are exported outside of the city in order for new monies to enter the economic engine. Name one product or service El Paso exports outside of the city. You can’t.

Instead, what happens is that the dependence on the taxpayer is so strong that politicians advocating holding the line on taxes will not be voted into office because to do so would mean ending the vicious circle that is the El Paso economy.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

7 replies on “Why a Politician Advocating Holding the Line on Taxes Can’t Get Elected in El Paso”

  1. The image personifies el paso’s tug of war with corruption:)


    In my opinion, you hit it once again on the mark. Taxes are beyond reasonable. We watch around us as we quietly speak of a flock of people silently eating less to ensure the money is there to support the pay of the top dogs of el paso county and city employees. While the corrupt county and city top dogs build a more impenetrable wall between themselves and the community. Our local legal system is a pay to play arena, where corrupt attorneys are protected at the expense of justice and the common man.

  2. You make an excellent point in clarifying what is truly inflating the local economy. I don’t wish us any bad but we will be here when it starts to deflate. The manipulators that created this will long be gone.

  3. It has taken you this long to see this? Why are the Usual Suspects so obsessed with local politics? Because it is local government that creates the spending they need. Plus it is local government that releases them from the taxes and fees they should be paying. Why else do we need a QoL bond issue every 10 years? The PR machine perpetuates the lie that development pays for itself when in fact its cost is put back on the taxpayers via QoL.

  4. Oh, we do make a few things here to export besides drugs. Electricity, hair brushes and gas.

  5. So I assume this explains why my Federal Court House ran TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS over the bid amount and initial amount of the contract. But I must say, I feel like God when I’m in there. Thank you tax payers.

  6. I have always thought taxes help make more people more equal and more choices.
    One thing that confuses me is the county is required to have a balance budget….so I guess the debt is taxes. I can understand one choosing to live in Sunland Park NM for lower property taxes. To me Social Justice equals taxes not less taxes. I understand national cry of debt we our leaving our grandkids….as if this means there should be less welfare today. But one thing stands out and that is how a nation manages its debt and the example is Japan, Japan has a debt 4 or 5 times our national debt but they have always managed to manage it well and their GDP keeps growing a long with their ‘middle class’ and so the question is what about that? Always consider that in deciding what is Social Justice.

  7. This was found: “2013…Glad to see you in the rear view mirror. This was one of the worst years of my life. 2014 might be better, but inmate Lorenzo Garcia becomes Mr. Garcia, and maybe Dr. Garcia in November of this upcoming year. As long as we have Federal Prosecutor Debra Kanof and Federal Judge Montalvo we will continue to see no justice in the corruption cases. I think those two should be added to the committee who appoints people for the conquistador award since they speak so highly of convicted felons. Betti Flores who shattered the public trust in the worst way possible…that is taking money for a vote …..gets a free pass and a nice little speech on her behalf on how critical she was to the investigation. Must be nice. Nothing happened to Travis Ketner either who was running the office of then County Judge Tony Cobos who admitted taking money as an elected official. Again, must be nice. In fact I think he is practicing law in San Antonio these days. So much for the “high standards” of the Texas Bar and the judicial canons of ethics. Speaking of judicial ethics in El Paso, I hope Manny Barraza is enjoying prison life. Speaking of judges, I wonder how retirement is treating Alfredo “Fred” Chavez?::::::::The word is that he represents and is the uncle of Jetzabel Argueta the lady that sued el paso isd and supposedly settled. That is what these crooks are up to.

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