Max Grossman sent this in:
Citizens of El Paso,
This comes from our friend Rick Bonart, who is leading the fight against the latest taxpayer rip-off.
This Tuesday, El Paso City Council will vote on whether to create two TIRZ on the West Side: TIRZ 10 and 12. These will rob the general fund of much needed tax dollars and adversely affect every citizen in every district.
See the Council agenda items 21.1, 21.2 and 21.3 here. See David Crowder’s report for the El Paso Inc here. See also El Chuqueno and the discussion in El Paso Speak entitled “Developers Have Special Needs.”
TIRZ are not hard to understand. An area is created and property values are frozen in that area. As that area improves and tax values increases, the tax dollars generated from the increased value go back to the TIRZ. These TIRZ dollars can only be spent within the TIRZ. In other words, TIRZ rob the general fund of much needed revenue that would help keep all our taxes lower, while still requiring general fund dollars to provide basic city services.
TIRZ 10 and 12 will be some of the worst examples of government using public dollars to enrich private developers. These two TIRZ are huge. They prevent 5,000 acres of prime commercial and residential property along Interstate 10 and Transmountain Road from contributing to the general fund. This area is booming, not blighted. This area does not need public money to stimulate new growth or rebuild old buildings. The TIRZ funds will be used to repay developers for roads, sewers, water, storm water, parks and other things that are normal developer costs. Once established, TIRZ last for decades!
How bad is it? TIRZ 12 will generate just $3 million in 36 years for the general fund while giving private developers $188 million. That’s $188 million that will not go to the general fund. These TIRZ are reverse Robin Hoods, robbing from the poor to give to the very richest men in our community.
TIRZ 10 and 12 are located within District 1, represented by Peter Svarzbein. However, instead of standing up for his constituents and leading the charge against the TIRZ, he has received campaign donations from all the developers who will benefit from the TIRZ! Mr. Svarzbein is running for re-election in November.
TIRZ can be a valuable development tool to help rehabilitate blighted areas. Unfortunately TIRZ have been used to line the pockets of the rich while harming poor neighborhoods. See this report from Houston, where folks have firsthand experience with TIRZ abuses.
It’s not too late to stop this! Come to City Council this Tuesday and stand with us. Let’s let Council know we will not be victims, and let’s remind them that they serve at our pleasure and not vice-versa! TIRZ 10 and 12 are not just unnecessary, they are harmful.
The City of El Paso has the second highest tax rate of the 50 largest cities in America. TIRZ will not lower your taxes, but will eventually result in higher taxes for all of us. This is very regressive and will hurt lower-income folks the most.