What are the totals for the tax breaks/incentives/gifts that the city and county are donating to the water park?
Known fixed amounts
- $5 million from the city as a development grant
- $18.6 million land gift
- $40 million either from the city or in sales tax rebates from the state. If the state declines the city must pay.
- $526,100 from the tax increment reinvestment district
- $4,295,094 from the county
There are probably amounts that I have missed but the ones above total $68,421,194.
Committed but variable amounts
- $29,505,000 from the consultant’s feasibility report (hotel occupancy tax rebates, local sales tax rebates, and property tax rebates)
That comes to $97,926,194 on a project where the developer promised the county a minimum $100 million investment but told the city that it would be over $150 million.
Most of us would take that deal.
We deserve better
None of the local media saw any reason to look into or report these details. There is no such thing as “news” organizations any more, all we have are masquerading cheerleaders. Local “news” have been the biggest cheerleaders for all major tax-increasing projects in the last twenty years, deliberately helping to misinform and mislead the taxpaying public about things like the children’s hospital, the baseball stadium and the misnamed “quality of life” bond issues. No critical reporting whatsoever by any local media organization.
They should have to register as political PAC’s and report annually their in-kind contributions to local politicians.
Stop blaming the media for taxpayer complacency and stupidity. The El Paso Times laid out all the FACTS of the land swap and the TERMS of the Wolf agreement. They even put on the front page the objections of a major developer, who spelled out in detail why the deal is wrong. You don’t need any more information to know that these deals are both bad and wrong. Blame your city council, mayor, and city manager. Blame the taxpayers who have not stormed city hall in large numbers to protest this deal. The terms of this deal were known before the election and look at all the votes cast for Svarzbein, who was Wolf’s biggest cheerleader.
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The media will propagate whatever is pre-packaged in a media kit and easy to put on air / in print. If there are shiny objects in the shot that’s even better.
It’s easier and cheaper than journalism.
I sent two different emails to ALL members of council, mayor TweedleDee and Manager T-Rex, asking them to explain how the projected economic impact figures could possibly be justified, and why the city would make huge tax incentive commitments without any requirement that GWL actually produce the predicted jobs, etc. No one replied, although CM Gonzalez has an automated answer to the effect that he gets so many emails every day it’s not possible to reply to any specific message, but thanks for taking the trouble to write. I’ve had several separate exchanges with my actual rep, again without any real reply – just “you raise interesting questions” kind of pluff. These “leaders” DO NOT CARE.
They don’t care. The fix was in. Your rep must be Svarzbein, the Wolf in council rep clothing. He made it clear he already had his mind made up before he met with his constituents.
You guessed it. I fear that he will be re-elected and have four more years to inflict damage. He does not care about constituents except very briefly at election time…and even then only for those whom he thinks will probably vote for him.
The Comptroller will not accept the claim that the West Towne Shopping Center is “ancillary” to the Great Wolf “Convention Center hotel,” and City Government knows that. That’s just a $40 million gift from El Paso taxpayers to Great Wolf Resorts. The City Manager dressed it up as a sales tax rebate to fool the citizens. I wonder if he fooled the Mayor and City Council as well, or if they’re in on the scam.
They can get an opinion in advance from the Comptroller if they want one. I wonder if they did that.
You know they’re lying if their lips are moving.
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