Death by a Thousand Cuts

The El Paso Inc. has a story this week about this year’s tax increases.

Tax hikes are rarely popular. This summer, there’s been plenty of reaction – lots of it negative – as some of the local jurisdictions that set tax rates have considered raising property taxes.

I must have missed the positive reactions to raising property taxes, but they were probably featured in another story in the Inc.

With one big school bond about to kick in, and an even bigger one to be voted on in November, El Paso Inc. undertook a detailed analysis of tax rates by the major taxing entities in the county.

The bottom line: After all the hoopla about property taxes in El Paso, they’re not going up much at all this year – at least not for homeowners.

What the online story doesn’t tell you, but which you can cipher from a chart in the dead tree version, is that the cumulative tax rate increase for homeowners is 3.2% this year, and likely for the rest of your miserable life, because taxes never (rarely) go down. And that doesn’t include any tax increase from whichever school district you live in.

Sure, three percent isn’t a lot. If that were the end of it.

But with all the QoL projects coming up, we’re just dipping our toes into tax increases. In four or five years, we’ll be treading water in the deep end.

And all the upcoming projects will come with Operations and Maintenance costs. Guess who gets to pay those?

Our penny-pinching City Manager Tommy Gonzalez can’t keep cutting expenses. He’s already trimmed all the low-hanging fruit, and the City’s slice of property taxes still increased by 4.1 percent.

And we’re just talking about homeowner’s property tax. Commercial property owners are facing stiffer increases. Where do you suppose that money’s coming from? Your gallon of milk and forty of malt liquor are going to cost a little more as those tax increases snake their way down the food chain.

That’s the real trickle-down economics.

The El Paso Inc. describes itself as a “quality, positive, upbeat publication . . . .” Just like El Chuqueño, but with quality.

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