As is typical in El Paso instead of acknowledging the ever-changing reality of the evolving economy away from centralized sole-source services to decentralized multi-sourced services that result in higher expertise and lower costs – the city, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to give “local” businesses preference over the most efficient and best priced. In its zeal to placate a restless community, the politicians have once again added another layer to the fantasy that “it’s all good in El Paso”.
On the surface, the “Hire El Paso First” policy may look like something to celebrate. What’s better than a government entity hiring its own tax base to provide the services it needs. Like the lie “that it’s all good”, it is nothing more than feel good rhetoric to drown out the discontent. It looks like a wonderful idea until the inconvenient truths are analyzed.
If El Paso’s business community is capable of providing cutting-edge services, efficiently and cost effectively then why does the city attorney’s office contract out of town legal services providers? Are local attorneys incapable of providing knowledgeable representation to this city?
How about two of the largest private businesses in El Paso, Western Refinery and El Paso Electric, who do they contract to do their creative services, local or out of town companies?
It is even more disconcerting that the “Hire El Paso First” focuses on construction companies that have been the focus of so many of the public corruption cases recently in El Paso. The fact is that while local taxpayers complain about rising taxes and higher fee the focus by government should be about reducing the costs to the city, not creating artificial economic incentives that give rise to higher taxes and opens the door to more public corruption in the community.
The economic model used to be inward looking, closing the borders and employing tariffs to keep low-cost alternatives out of the marketplace to keep prices artificially high and discourage efficiency. With the advent of the Internet many businesses have figured out that out-sourced services is both cost effective and gives their clients access to efficiencies and higher expertise, at a lower price.
The city, in its continued quest for shooting itself on the foot has decided than rather than picking the best qualified, most efficient and best priced construction company, it has, instead, decided that as long as it’s from El Paso it should be given the business regardless of the benefits and the cost to the taxpayer.
Typical El Paso.