In case you have not figured it out yet your taxes are going up. As much as Veronica Escobar and cohorts who have been pushing the Ray Caballero inspired public policy agenda centered on downtown revitalization would have you believe that the city is progressing forward; the fact remains that the city’s economy can’t support the “progress” of the public policy agenda. The worst part is that this latest round of tax increases have little nothing to do with the Quality of Life bonds as those monies have not been substantially leveraged by the city yet and therefore do not influence the city’s current budget. Unfortunately, the city is not the only entity that will be raising taxes this time as the county will likely be raising taxes as well.
As the tax increase rhetoric intensifies in the community collective you will notice that it will all be justified by the politicos as “voter approved”. Let’s look at the city first as it has released a preliminary budget for community discussion. KVIA reported that Tommy Gonzalez, the city’s new city manager as stating that the tax increase he is proposing is a result of “more commitments” the city has made. Adding, “we’re selling more bonds”.
According to the preliminary city budget proposal, city taxes will increase about $34 annually for an average home. Gonzalez then justifies the increase by stating, “it’s cheaper than having a cell phone”. Remember when Ray Caballero cohorts retorted to protests of tax increases with the infamous its “less than a pizza”?
This is how the city’s politicos view the taxpayers, as nothing more than wallets that must put aside the use of a cell phone or eating a pizza slice in order to pay for the needs of the highfalutin elite of El Paso.
That’s the bottom line, as much as the city will attempt to justify the need to increases taxes on the notion of keeping the lie of the city’s “safest city in the nation” rating going and the quality of life projects the fact remains that taxes are rising because of the ineptitude and outright corruption permeating through the public sector.
The current leader of the Ray Caballero style public policy agenda; Veronica Escobar is promising holding the line on taxes yet the facts speak otherwise. Consider the two largest controversies currently facing the county; the possibility of refunding millions of illegally billed court fines for missing jury duty and the ongoing Children’s Hospital debacle.
If you don’t believe that neither of those two items will not result in a county tax increase then you probable believe that the ballpark is the greatest economic catalyst for El Paso since the interstate was built.
The worst part is that the politicos continue to believe that El Paso is on the cusp of an economic miracle when all of the verifiable economic indicators say the economy is crashing. As if that was not bad enough consider that the city’s current tax increase does nothing to address the costs of the Quality of Life bonds that will be sold nor the cost to build a new city hall in the near future. All those items will necessitate tax increases to pay for them.
Likewise, the county is gesticulating about the need for building another jail or building another courthouse for the commissioners. Like before there is a lot of talk about consolidating services like police and the sheriff’s departments and information technology but when it comes to implementation it all disappears into oblivion to be resurrected during the next election or tax increase.
Under Veronica Escobar and Joyce Wilson, much publicity and expenditures were allocated to consolidating the two information technology departments of the city and the county. A shared data center was to be built. For a time, then information technology county director Peter Cooper took over the city’s technology department and eventually placed Miguel Gamiño under him at the city.
Suddenly and without any interest from the news media both Cooper and Gambiño disappeared and shared services disappeared as well. No news media has bothered to ask what happened to both of the individuals involved in consolidating the two technology departments or more importantly, what happened to all of the equipment (computers) and servers that were purchased for consolidation, not to mention the software.
The city is currently refreshing their computers.
The current city’s budget proposes increasing taxes and the county is likely going to need to increase taxes as well and yet no one is asking whatever happened to the “shared services” Escobar and Wilson touted as a cost savings. What you will hear instead is that the city and the county will once again pontificate about consolidating services in order to offset the pressure on the taxpayers.
And, just as the previous attempts have ended in fiascos, so too will this latest incarnation as well. It’s almost as if the “shared services” is nothing more than a red herring to placate the taxpayers.
Lucky for me, I get to sit on the sidelines and watch the taxes increase from far away, because the fact of the matter is that it’s all corrupt in el Paso, Texas.