iag-lie-15As if Tuesday’s embarrassment of a dysfunctional city government wasn’t enough to keep you worried about El Paso’s future there are three other city indicators that I am going to bring up today. I believe all three are related to the continued El Paso exodus. They are the latest unemployment figures, the El Paso Times and the city’s latest tax increase.


KVIA reported yesterday that El Paso’s unemployment rate now stands below five percent. Of course, KVIA, like all news media, runs to the spokespersons for the “it’s all good” lies to bolster the make believe fantasies that the politicians want you to believe about El Paso.

KVIA’s piece was nothing more than a press release for Joyce Wilson’s Workforce Solutions. As you expected, Leila Melendez is now the new face for Wilson’s propaganda.

A simple question that no wants to address is whether the unemployment rate is about an actual increase in jobs in the city, or rather is it about less individuals looking for work. We already know individuals are leaving El Paso in droves. The majority, if not all, are leaving for better job opportunities.

Wouldn’t the prudent question be is the unemployment rate down because less people are looking for jobs in the city? Of course not, because that would be an inconvenient question the oligarchy does not want to know the answer to.

Of course, the leads to us to another inconvenient fact that the politicians are hoping you don’t notice.

The El Paso Times

At the same time the press release about the declining unemployment rate is delivered, the El Paso Times is laying off about 15 employees because they are moving their design and copy-editing work to Phoenix. The cheerleader and apologist for the city’s rising taxes understands that it cannot survive in a city where taxes are suffocating their readership.

The newspaper first exacts its public relations fees by selling their building to those it works for, the city, and then they quietly makes preparations to leave the city once they realize that they cannot survive in the city they helped create.

Typically, the El Paso government, in its ineptitude, bought the building from the El Paso Times in an effort to keep the press favorable but forgot to demand that at the very least, the paper should keep some El Pasoans employed so that the tax burden could be spread over a larger pool.

Of course not, that would have been the proper thing to do.

Tax Increase

Although the city has reluctantly admitted to having to raise your taxes, as if no one knew this was coming, the city continues to mask the realities of what is truly going on. The fact is that El Paso is heavily in debt. The 2012 Quality of Life projects and the ballpark are the reasons behind the debt pressure upon the city. The city, though, is blaming the firefighter’s contract along with your vote to approve the quality of life projects, conveniently forgetting that city council is the one that embarked upon the public policy agenda of buying prosperity through taxation.

Notice how the city is focusing on the reduction of taxes for the elderly? That is because they are the ones that vote.

Lost in all of the rhetoric is the undeniable fact that taxes will continue to increase each year, regardless of the creative accounting and Tommy Gonzalez’ savings. This is because the underlining problem has not been solved.

Taxes rise because the tax base decreases while the debt increases.

Building ballparks and pretty parks does not increase the tax base regardless of how the local government frames it. The proof lies on the rising public debt the last three years. City government routinely points to increased development but has yet to point to an actual decrease on the tax burden.

Case in point is that the city is rising your taxes while ignoring the fact that they have kept the water franchise fee in place even though everyone agrees it is nothing more than a hidden tax.

The city government pretends it is rising taxes incrementally while, in reality, your wallet knows the difference. The city government would rather continue to pretend “it’s all good” in hopes that something magically happens to raise El Paso out of the depths of corruption it is in.

As long as El Pasoans continue to leave the city, the problem will not be resolved. How can a city pretend it can attract tourism when its own citizen want nothing to do with the city?

As I have been writing for many years now, your taxes will only continue to increase until the city files for bankruptcy. That is the only reality for the future of the city.

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...

6 replies on “Tidbits on the El Paso Exodus and the City Tax Increase”

  1. Why are taxes being increased by every entity in El Paso? Is it because they heard about the drop in the price of gas? Heaven forbid we catch a break.

    If people are allowed to catch a break, then they spend more and stimulate the economy. Of course El Paso entities know better so they continue to make sure that nickel doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

    Didn’t the city just tell us that there was a surplus in the budget. LOL, obviously not true. As I previously stated how in the heck can anyone gave a surplus when you still owe someone money. As Martin states “creative” accounting. If you believed in the surplus, wait till you start paying bills. The taxes will prove otherwise.

    I noticed since they were caught in the lie that El Paso was the safest city in the U.S., suddenly as predicted they are developing and announcing titles for anything. The “fifth happiest city” and on back of a city bus they tell us El Paso has the most “Twenty years old” people. What’s next the city with most sand ? They certainly have earned the title of being the biggest cons and inept clowns in the U.S.
    They are slick as they tell you how great the city is doing and how all these stupid projects will bring tourists by the thousands. Really? Less airport traffic, less hotel occupancy, empty Brio buses and gaudy decorations on the highway and streets. They remind one of the cheap looking pink flamingos and gnomes in yards. Perhaps the idea is really to distract the drivers from the Afghani style streets.

    All this is a cheap seduction of the citizens, a little kiss here and there to lead you on but never the grand prize. Always leaving you begging for more.

  2. It seems impossible for El Paso leadership to get a handle on what are the rungs on the ladder of social mobility. So they just take what the investors say as their truth.

    Yes we need tax base but more sprawl costs more than it contributes.

  3. So, if gas prices are going down, why are they still at two and a half bucks a gallon? (I paid 2.27 in San Antonio a week ago, and I see that it is down to 2.09 in Houston). As for the over 65 tax exemption, why are they making such a big deal out of that? That exemption has long been in place, so it is not as if this is news! QoL costs? How come we are already paying for so many projects that have still not yet begun?! When the hell is anyone going to fix our sorry streets?!

  4. What so many in the city don’t understand is that those that want so much “improvement” don’t have the income for that improvement, or shall i be more blunt: the people who demand the most are those without jobs, or with low paying jobs, that think those of us that pay property taxes are rich and therefore we are required to pay for those things. Gonzalez has publicly stated early on in his job as city manger here that he had never seen a city that wanted more without paying for it. His assessment should have included that city politicians are always trying to find ways for those few taxpayers to “lift up” those less fortunate because they “deserve” it. Really? My pay hasn’t gone up in five years yet i own two homes, one in the YISD and the other unfortunately in EPISD. Both of these entities are taxing well beyond what they should since they are the taxing giants in the community. But every time i hear someone say it’s for the children i could scream “bull shit”. Show me schools that are better than before the tax increase; show me where the teachers got more materials; show me where we didn’t spend another frigging gazillion on administrators and programs leading to nowhere. The same with the city. The fault in our system is that historically less than 10% of the registered voters vote, and of that i venture to say 75% of those own property. However, with all the stupid reporting from the Times, the stations, and social media you’d think that 90% of the registered voters vote. It is a prevailing system of failed politics coupled with a population who would rather spend millions on stupid round-abouts than give city employees a raise. They would rather see a “cultural” center costing millions than to pave the screwed up streets throughout this town. They would rather vote in incompetent city councilors like Limon, Ordaz and yes even the Mayor…Hizzzhonor who hasn’t voted on crap or brought in any significant businesses into El Paso. (Man did you guys get a bill of goods with this one). No he’s more worried about how many cars he’ll sell to poor people who really can’t afford to buy than to add some improvements to the streets, or veto a poorly orchestrated increase for the city manager. No juevos. None. And you thought Cook was myopic….
    Any way, until we look hard at the costs of the “public works’ projects that we can’t afford and either stop or delay them until we can count on revenue for them then we will continue to buy our way to affluence, one we can’t afford.

  5. Woodpecker, well said. If more people got mad and started voting things would change. These idiots will take a generation or two disappear. They are so imbedded!

    Woodpecker, there was a survey that indicated that El Paso was among the top ten of the worst individual credit ratings. So there is a lot creditiibility in what you say. I get angry with the entitlement mentality. I look at them and tell the if you tried as hard as I did, you could have more and not be so envious. Worked by day and went to classify evenings. Then took jobs where I had to eat shit sometimes. But I got what I wanted. And for sure, assimilation does work better than stubbornness.

    Why people use the excuse that assimilation is a betrayal of heritage is beyond me and has no basis. Expats of many nations have moved to other areas and have had no problems and enjoyed even a better life than their native country.

  6. Hear hear, Woodpecker!

    Yes, it’s always “for the children”. That’s the argument killer. Who doesn’t want to help kids? The problem is that throwing money at a problem doesn’t fix it. How many of us succeeded in school without all these things? We just needed some discipline and parents who cared a little.

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