Attracting industry

January 8, 2019

Following up on the note about commercial property tax rates, let’s imagine that an industrial company wanted to move to El Paso and manufacture something.  Maybe they would like to make a component that one of the many plants in Mexico needs.

Or maybe the economic development people would like to attract a big manufacturer to town.

This might get in the way:

El Paso has the highest property tax rate for industrial concerns of the largest 50 cities in the United States.

Looking at the average rates we are close to twice as high.

We deserve better



Taxing us out of business

January 6, 2019

Let’s say that our job is to recruit new businesses to El Paso.

How should we try to get around this?

According to the 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study from the Lincoln Institute El Paso had the 4th highest commercial property tax rates of the largest 50 cities in the United States.

If you look at our rates and the average rates we are generally 1/3 higher than the other cities.

We deserve better


Best local government official

January 3, 2019

The floor is open for nominations for best local government official.

Please tell us why you have nominated this person.

We deserve better


New year’s resolutions

January 2, 2019

If you could get a local government official to make (and keep)  a new year’s resolution what would it be?

We deserve better


A stand alone indoor waterpark

November 30, 2018

The water park portion of the Great Wolf deal is planned to occupy 86,138 square feet.

If someone wanted to build an indoor water park of that size and not build a hotel how much would it cost?

Let’s use one thousand dollars per square foot.  Industry reports actually put the number at $600 but let’s use the thousand dollar number so we can remove whether or not we have allocated enough money to the project.

This park would cost $86,138,000.

If the city and county were to contribute half of this amount the total cost to the public would be $43 million with the developer paying the rest.

We would then have a property that paid $2,763,495 to our local taxing authorities each year (roughly half of that would go to the schools).

Then the hundreds of thousands of tourists that the city claims will be attracted would stay in our existing hotels and we would get the hotel occupancy taxes as well as the sales taxes that the city and county have given away.

Even this $43 million dollar deal would be stupid but it sure would beat the $100 million deal we have been stuck with.

We deserve better


Water park incentive totals

November 16, 2018

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




Robbing our schools and hospital

November 14, 2018

The land (for the water park deal)  that the city is trading so that it can give it away for $1,000 per year with a $10,000 buy out was formerly owned privately and was taxed around 54 thousand dollars a year by the city,  $29 thousand a year by the county,  $98 thousand a year by the Canutillo independent school district, $9,000 a year by our community college and $16,307 yearly by our county hospital.  The total comes to $188 thousand each year.

Now that the city owns the land those taxes go away.


If the land is actually worth the $18.6 million that we are told the owner wants the tax situation would be different.  The annual taxes would be $597,686.00.

Because the city has assumed ownership of the land, and thus the land cannot be assessed property taxes, the other entities are going to lose money also.

Using the claimed $18.6 million figure the Canutillo district will lose $284,580 per year for the ten years that the city will own the land.

The city tells us that homeowners pay a disproportionate part of the property tax (compared to businesses and industries) and then go right ahead and throw away a piece of property that would pay almost $600,000 a year.

We deserve better


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