bella-napoliAs many of you know, I have been documenting the many indicators for the El Paso economy that the politicians continue to gloss over or ignore. There are two more indicators that show exactly how bad the situation is in El Paso. Although the candidates for the upcoming elections are going to tell you how El Paso is on the verge of a renaissance and how excited they are about it, very few of them, if any, will tell you that raising taxes is the only way to keep the city viable.

Yesterday, the local paper told you about the closure of Bella Napoli, a long-standing restaurant that is closing tomorrow. In the article by María Cortés González, buried deep within the rhetoric the politicos want you to see is the real reason the restaurant is closing down. It is important to note that the restaurant had been business for 52 years. It weathered recessions and national and worldwide economic downturns, but what it could not weather was the current public policy agenda that relies on taxes to build a utopia for the drivers of the public agenda driving El Paso into ruin.

Keep in mind that the building the restaurant occupies is owned by the family that owns the restaurant. When asked about the future, Luis Cordova, one of the owners of the restaurant stated that when he opens a new place, “it will probably be in a rental property which is less expensive than paying property taxes.”

Clearly, the problem for Bella Napoli are the suffocating taxes that discourage businesses from growing the El Paso economy. Rather than invest in its building, the owners of Bella Napoli are looking to sell it because renting a property is cheaper than paying the taxes.

I have written numerous times that the problem with El Paso’s economy is that it does not stimulate new money into the economy, instead it recycles existing money each time diminishing it forcing the taxpayers to pay more to sustain an unsustainable economy.

The other important indicator that is that passenger traffic at the El Paso International Airport was down in January. According to the report by Vic Kolenc, the airport handled “1,237 fewer passengers” than in January 2014. Additionally, the airport saw 49,638 fewer passengers than in December, the previous month.

As I wrote above, the only way for El Paso to keep a sustainable economy is to bring new money into it rather than recycling the existing money over and over again. Fewer passengers at the airport signifies fewer people coming into the city. More importantly, it means that the HOT taxes will not be sufficient to pay for the baseball stadium.

The politicians, though, will ignore these two latest indicators and focus on the upcoming bowling tournament that will temporarily and artificially increase travel to El Paso. They, of course, will ignore that significance of this event being a one-time thing and how it artificially increases the economic metrics.

They will be all over the news media telling how they have made wonderful decisions for El Paso’s renaissance. When the truth emerges, it will be all sorts of excuses like the ones you are hearing today about the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

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...

8 replies on “More Economic Indicators for El Paso”

  1. Haha, be prepared for the PR NY firm to ensure that El Paso wins another title for best…..or best city council.

    The only legitimate title that the city can earn is “Chevy Chase visits El Paso”. This will beat any previous vacation movies released by Chevy Chase. It would feature all the comical decisions being made by the city and county. There’s plenty of material for a movie here.

    Agree, the Bowling Tornament will be major news for the local media. Telling everyone how it great it was and made millions. But they won’t publish what the debt is. It will be a temporary uplift just like the FT Bliss projects. It was good while it lasted. But, developers, building owners, and the local officials went crazy spending. They kept telling us there would be do many military forces moving to El Paso and we would make millions. An invasion rivaling the number if forces used in Normandy. Well, politics and the world changed so all plans had to be changed. Remember, city council has so much influence that Washington and the Department of Defense would never reduce forces. Hello, they’re in Germany and many of the former soviet bloc countries. Forces in Africa for Ebola or trying to support African countries. Sssshhh, you can know it just don’t mention it. That imaginary influence lent itself to a county official yelling at a Senate hearing that they are a County Judge. I’m sure the senate started sweating profusely, teeth chattering and shriveling. If they did it wasn’t out if fear but trying to keep from laughing.

    The HOT tax to pay for the stadium. What happen to the El Paso airlift to save the city? Oh, we built a bigger car rental facilty for the low number of passenagers. Wait, think like a council member. If we build a larger car rental place, tourists will flock to El Paso ! Brilliant ! Hhhhhmmm, we will invite the bowlers to sit in the unfinished Plaza and no toilet. We will tell them we were going for the old western look, thus the rocks, dirt piles and busted trees. Oh no toilet, well didn’t you know the pioneers didn’t have toilets.

    The rebirth of El Paso has only placed us in much deeper debt and the downtown is in worse shape. Maybe we can stage a couple of code enforcement swat raids, show tourists how to condemn buildings in hour and throw the people into the street. The secret, even though you have a maintenance crew you just say the building is beyond repair. WHAT? That should be exciting for the Bowlers that lead such lead such exciting lives that they would tell the folks back home they saw an El Paso raid.

    Yes, we have fallen victim to the philosophy that “going into massive debt creates wealth”. Again, WHAT?

    For me to pay propery taxes, I will shave my hair, wear an orange robe, play a small drum and chant at the airport. Hey , they said HOT would pay for the stadium so why couldn’t I collect enough donations. See ya at the terminal entrance ! At least they can afford toilets.

  2. Martin doesn’t know what a rental property is. He either doesn’t understand or intentionally twisted Mr. Cordova’s words. Or what he was really saying is that either property can stay vacate and produce NO income yet you must still pay taxes on it, or you rent it out and make money on it. Renting property isn’t cheaper than paying property taxes. Again, Martin is either dumb or he is twisting the situation. When taxes are raised, landlords pay those raises on the landlord. Marting should learn more about a thing called “NNN” and how in lease agreements for businesses aren’t static.

  3. Downsizing Max. That will improve the cash flow even when you change the balance sheet… You know, dispose of fixed assets, pay rent that is lower than your tax bill. In El Paso, that’s very common. For many, the tax bill equals or exceeds the mortgage. But you know all this– or do you? Working hard at appeasement can be so hard for a sycophant like you. It

  4. Oh and about that sharp drop in airport traffic that has been a constant over the last year? What? No pithy answer? Not even something sexual?

  5. Bella Napoli didn’t have quality food competition until the last 10 years. 10 years ago on the west side it was mostly Mexican and fast food. Then Thyme, Mi Piacci, Crust (now Centrale), and a few others opened actually serving good food. We never ate except once at Bella Napoli and did not think it was clean with all the plastic grape vine.

  6. Bella Napoli’s closing is less an indicator of economic conditions than it is of two main things: a declining clientele that is dying off, and a clientele that has a more sophisticated palate. The folks who grew up in El Paso in the 50-80s are getting much older–yes, they are dying off. The newer generation of folks want something more than a plate of pasta slobbered with sauce (if anyone thinks that is what Italian food is, then you are hopeless). And, as one responder so accurately said, quality food competition. Bella Napoli can’t expect to stay in business serving mediocre fare. Let’s not forget that the newer generation of patrons want something less formal, are more bar oriented, want something they can eat with their hands, is excited that it comes from a rolling restaurant, and is more eclectic. But, the list of newer cheaper eateries is outpacing the economy and that is more of an indicator than the closing of a few mediocre, stuck-in-the-past, eateries.

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