In 2018 local voters approved a “penny swap” program for EPISD that transferred money from the debt service budget into the operations and maintenance budget.
What would happen if we implemented a “penny plan” with our city budget?
Such a plan would cut real spending by one penny out of every dollar that our city government spent the year before.
We deserve better
Such grand scenarios in the past few days. Local artists and now penny swaps for city council.
None of this is ever going to happen. How about if city council members had to pay for everything they sponsored? Or the city had to “pay” for new spending by cutting existing spending?
These are useless questions, because there is zero impetus to make them happen.
Our problem is that local politicians have no interest in these things. That is the problem, and fantasy, what-if scenarios seem specious because they don’t address the problem nor present a solution.
If spending is the problem address spending in a meaningful way. If a politicians behavior is a problem address that. If political pressure by certain groups is a problem address that.
Or, we could just wish for a better future while doing nothing constructive.
What if, for every dollar the city spent, they gave $5,211,882,000 to some lucky individual to do with as they please? And an ice cream cone.
I never really see the council reps sponsor anything. They just approve what the city manager puts in front of them. Those things are generally things that have been cooked up in the back room with developers and corporate interests. Take Great Wolf for instance.
Anonymous makes a good point about pipe dreams, but the really bad thing about today’s column is it shows total ignorance about the penny swap agenda. The state has a cap on school taxes for operations. It doesn’t cap school taxes for debt service. EPSID had the penny swap to increase the money available for operations but as the megabond increases debt service costs they’ll be short in the revenue needed for debt service. No problem because they can raises taxes for that. So this good idea doesn’t save money, it simply provides a way for them to charge taxpayers more later for their fiscal irresponsibility. The city gains no advantage from a penny swap because their budget isn’t regulated the same way. They just take out COs when they overspend and complain about the tax increase cap the legislature wisely enacted last session. The big problem is foolish spending and a political machine strong enough to deliver the donor agenda every election. The secondary issue is the fact that most voters are totally ignorant of agendas like the penny swap, so they vote for tax increases without understanding that is what they are doing. For the children, for police and fire, to create jobs, for the teachers…are all lies. It’s always for the donors and the politicians whose careers are furthered when they line donor pockets.
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The citizens of Detroit have started to fight back against the city and the people in power. The state of Michigan laws are different but I see similarities. A showdown between progressive lawmakers and the city of Detroit is taking on racist housing policies that robbed African Americans of their homes and widened the racial wealth gap. One issue is illegally inflated property taxes with lower valued homes over accessed and higher value homes under accessed. The population of Detroit is 85% Black. People of color, non white. In the publication Who Rules El Paso? Racism is cited as a factor in the city policies. A Coalition for Property Tax Justice has been formed and a forthcoming study to be published in the UC Berkeley Law Review titled “ Predatory Cities “ and I think this title also fits this city. Many lawsuits are pending, another thing we have in common with Detroit. Yesterday The Coalition for Property Tax Justice announced a class -action lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan in response to unfair property tax foreclosures. The people of El Paso need to vote and fight back. To be able to do this they need to be informed. We need to earn our lives or accept the consequences.
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Let us know when that study is published.
I see El Paso as a kind of “reverse Robin Hood” economy in which the city transfers wealth from the commons – tax base and assets – and gives it to the Usual Suspects in the form of land and subsidies. I mean, we rent the $68MM stadium to Mountainstar when an asset of that value should fetch $500K a month, plus a share of parking revenues from the city’s streets on game night go to MS and the city picks up the tab for police and safety. Foster’s 10 acres for Great Wolf (also a giveaway) gets him a barony in NE of 2000+ acres.
This story continues to play out as we saw Wilson’s testimony in Austin that the arena is slated as a sports venue but that was not revealed to the voters to avoid the conflict that AAA caused.
The question for your reps is, “How much can you steal from us for these corporate welfare leeches before you kill the host?”
I voted “No” on the EPISD Penny Swap deal. We never know what EPISD is really doing with OUR money. This sounded like some kind of scam they were pulling. Sounded like some kind of “Shell game”. “It’s there, so we put it over here, then we move it from here and put it over there. Oops, where did it go? Don’t know, do you”?
I know this isn’t the subject today but I would like to address the 2% of the budget for art. Nature is the inspiration for art. And as a person commented yesterday that the city should plant more trees I think this is a superior idea. Create true beauty that would inspire. Programs that teach children to value and respect our land. So many applications. The city has it’s own tree farm. Invest in real beauty as our weather lends to being outside. And compost, the city needs a compost program, it would change the ecosystem by amending the soil.
and the episd staff were promised winter stipends of 750 for five years. Episd budget for 2020-2021 shows this will be eliminated from the expenses so cabrera can get a Lamborghini for being such a great guy….a good egg…certified organic and free range