Max Grossman sent this in:
The Austin-based Texas Public Policy Foundation, one of our state’s most influential advocacy groups, has a Facebook page that is followed by 315,091 people. In a recent post (5/25/18), they singled out El Paso for having the highest hotel occupancy tax in Texas.
According them, the top three reasons for ditching the hotel occupancy tax are as follows:
“1. This tax is supposed to fund projects like convention centers, which are supposed to then turn a profit. Sometimes those convention centers never turn a profit and sometimes they are never built in the first place.
2. This tax can hurt small businesses and local economies by discouraging tourism and siphoning away money that could have been spent locally.
3. Like any other private industry, the travel and tourism industry should not rely on taxpayer money for promotion and funding of its activities.”
As you know, some years ago the City tacked 2% onto our HOT, raising it from 15.5% to 17.5%, in order to fund the operations of a Ballpark that loses more than $500K every year and does almost nothing to support the hotel industry. Do you think anyone actually travels to El Paso and stays in our hotels to enjoy AAA baseball? We are constantly told that we deserve state-of-the-art facilities and that we must provide new amenities in order to keep El Pasoans from leaving El Paso. But in the end, we are being asked to subsidizeentertainment, even as our City’s tax-supported debt stands at more than $2 billion, we have the 2nd highest homestead tax rate among the 50 largest cities in America, and our streets are in third-world condition!
Since our City managed to turn a $50-million Ballpark into a $130-million boondoggle that will lose tens of millions of dollars over the life of our 30-year contract with the MountainStar Sports Group, and we are already $56 million over budget on 11 QOL bond projects, do you think we can trust the same City to manage the construction and operation of an “Arena” that comes with a price tag of $180 million?
Enjoy your day.