Down the Economic Development Rabbit Hole

Brutus had a good post at ElPasoSpeak.com yesterday. His post included this slide:

Perhaps you’ll remember this article titled Whose Economic Development Do You Think They’re Worried About? I posted back on 1 September 2019, where I talked about the City’s Economic Development Department budget.

Of that $19,814,987, $17,433,569, was spent on Outside Contracts.

What, I wondered, was it spent on?

So I asked. I filed an Open Records Request.

Well, a bunch of that money was spent on Public Private Partnerships. Specifically, 380 Agreements.

380 Agreements are Property Tax Rebates. Don’t you wish you could get some of that?

But the 380 Agreements didn’t account for all of that $17,433,569. Where’d the rest of that money go?

Well, I dunno. It’s a secret. The City of El Paso kicked my Public Information Request up to the Attorney General in Austin, even though I gave the City permission to redact any privileged information. Now the City, or the Attorney General, has 45 days to mull it over.

Curious, innit? You’d think, that of all the information that the public has a right to know, how the City spends our money would be among the most valuable.

I wonder what they’ve got to hide.

2 comments

  1. Thank you for focusing on this. I think it’s the Achilles heel of EP city gov’t. Also, look at the number of years money will be paid out on these economic incentives. How many are over 10 years, 20 years, more? How many past economic incentives have been extended once they expire? How many have been ended prior to the first pay out period? Are we still paying while I Fly is dealing with their problems? At what time in the future does the city think we will see the full benefit of these incentives? How do all these issues compare with other comparable US cities? What do independent economists say about studies of this type of spending, their pros and cons and outcomes for other cities? We citizens need to become independent experts to be knowledgeable voters. And, most importantly, individual city council members need to ask themselves these questions and look for the answer from independent sources. I don’t see any evidence that any of them do. What do you all think?

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