Living within our means

July 6, 2019

Our recent posts about residential, commercial, industrial, and apartment property tax rates showed that we have tax rates higher than virtually every other city among the 50 largest cities in the United States.

Remember that the voters have authorized funding a $180 million multi-purpose performing arts center and hundreds of millions in school district bonds that have not been sold yet and thus have not been added to our tax burden yet.

We deserve better



No way to avoid high property taxes in El Paso

July 5, 2019

If a commercial or industrial firm was considering opening a facility in El Paso and the managers/owners did not want to move to El Paso they would probably rent apartments.

El Paso had the second highest property tax rate applied to apartments of the 50 largest cities in the United States during 2018.

Those property taxes get passed through to the renters.

For those who cannot afford to buy a house that means high taxes.  For those that want to continue to live out of town but need a place to stay while they are here it means high taxes.

We deserve better


Another group that we are not attracting.

July 3, 2019

We recently wrote about El Paso having the highest industrial property tax rate among the 50 largest cities in the United States during the 2018 tax year.

Next we talked about El Paso having the highest residential property tax rate for smaller homes and the second highest rate on larger homes in those same cities.

How did we compare on commercial properties (like call centers, transportation companies and others–as opposed to industrial facilities)?

El Paso had the third highest property tax rate on all sizes of commercial properties during that period.

People who own those kinds of commercial businesses will probably find it hard to justify moving to El Paso and facing the third highest property tax rates on their commercial businesses and the first or second highest rates on their homes.

We deserve better


When taxes hit home

July 2, 2019

In How not to try to attract industry we pointed out that El Paso had the highest industrial tax rate among the 50 largest cities in the United States for the 2018 tax year.

According to the report we were citing El Paso also had the highest residential tax rate on homesteaded median value homes in areas where there were  assessment limits.

Median value evidently meant less than $150,000.  That means that we taxed the people living in lower value homes proportionately more than anyone else.

For homes valued between $150,000 and $300,000 El Paso’s tax rate was the second highest among the 50 largest cities.

People that manage businesses that are considering a move to El Paso probably fall into the higher home value range.

We offer them the opportunity to be like many El Pasoans and pay the second highest rate shown.

Is it any wonder that people are leaving town and that we don’t attract companies?

We deserve better


How not to try to attract industry

July 1, 2019

The Lincoln Institute and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence jointly publish an annual report comparing property taxes among the 50 states.

The report for the 2018 tax year is out.  You can see the whole thing here.

This year’s report lists El Paso as having the highest property tax rate on industrial properties of the top 50 cities in the United States.

The report shows three breakdowns: smaller industrial firms (land and building value up to $100,000), mid-sized firms (land and building value up to $1 million), and larger firms ($25 million).

We had the highest tax rate in all three categories last year.

Is this the way to attract industry?

We will probably read some comments about the local governments granting tax abatements to incoming industrial firms.  Remember that those abatements have a finite life.  After that the firms end up paying the regular tax rate.

The people that operate those firms have to pay property taxes on their homes, or if they are carpetbaggers through their apartment rentals.

We deserve better


EPISD agenda trick

June 30, 2019

EPISD held a special board meeting Monday, June 24, 2019.

From the agenda:

Subject of Meeting
1. Call to Order
2. Meeting to be Closed under Sections 551.071 and 551.072 of the Texas Government Code as follows:
A. Consultation with Legal Counsel Concerning Legal Issues Relating To:
1. Sale of Surplus Properties IFB 19-008 and Contract of Sale Between EPISD and MIMCO, Inc. for the Property Known as NE Tennis Center, Described as a Portion of Tract 5, Block 6, Castner Range Subdivision No 1, City of El Paso, El Paso County, Texas; Pursuant to Texas Government Code Sections 551.071 and 551.072
Closed Session Verbiage
Any final action as a result of this discussion will be taken at the re-opening of this meeting, later during the Open Session or at a subsequent meeting.
3. Discuss and Take Appropriate Action Regarding the Sale of Surplus Properties IFB 19-008 and Contract of Sale Between EPISD and MIMCO, Inc. for the Property Known as NE Tennis Center, Described as a Portion of Tract 5, Block 6, Castner Range Subdivision No 1, City of El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
(To allow the Board to take action if needed)
4. Order Canvassing Returns/Votes and Declaring Results of June 15, 2019, Board of Trustees Runoff Election
(To comply with Texas Election Code Sections 67.002, 67.003, 67.004, and 67.016)
5. Oath of Office to Members of the Board of Trustees
(To administer the Oath of Office to newly elected Trustees in Districts 3 and 6)
6. Election of Board Officers
(To comply with requirements in Board Policy BDAA [Legal and Local])
7. Selection of Delegate and Alternate to 2019 TASA/TASB Conference
(The assembly is the foundation of TASB’s governance structure and provides critical direction as TASB represents members’ interest before state and national policymakers)
8. Adjournment

Notice that they planned to hold a closed meeting and then come out into open session and vote on what to do.

What is really significant is that they scheduled doing this before items 4 and 5 which would recognize new board members.

Evidently the old group did not want the new guys to mess things up.

We deserve better


EPISD pay raise

June 28, 2019

This came in from Dan Wever:

Media people are saying that EPISD teachers to get a 6% raise.  I doubt this but the Superintendents salary is tied to teacher raises and here are his annual increase with 4,5 and 6%.
4% $14,511
5% $18,139
6% $21,766.80
If they get the 6% that will make his base salary $384,546.80 with the $30,000 cash benefits stipend in his contract makes it $414,546.80.  He also gets 35 vacation days which he can and must sell back to the district at his daily rate if not used by end of July.  This makes his vacation days worth $56,182.74which he usually cashes in.  Of course, then you have an $18,000 car allowance and a $14,400 home office annual allowance.  Then you add his retirement (TRS) benefits, Medical and Dental care, 1,000,000 life insurance policy a 20,000 dollar annuity and various other perks.
I had said that he was the highest paid superintendent in the State and someone challenged me on the statement showing me the Cypress-Fairbanks Supers salary and then I showed them that that superintendent works 250 days while ours only works 226, however, Cypress guy does have twice as many students.
And do not even try to compare what Cabrera spends on social functions, dues, etc…………………………………You cannot! If he sticks around about 10 more years all the students will be gone and the budget will be his salary!  😦

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