Short answer: We don’t.
I mean, except by the bank accounts of our community’s wealthiest citizens.
They’re not going to spend any more money in El Paso. They’re not going to hire a sous chef to help out their personal cook, or put another dozen mowers on their yard care crew. They’re maxed out.
It would be nice if they were going to start another business with their own money, instead of using public funds to prop up their own self-aggrandizing legends, but they’d rather play monopoly with house money. Who can blame them, if the house wants to keep shoveling cash their way? So they just keep showing up with their hands out.
A smaller city budget accompanied by the latest increase in taxes indicates that our tax base is shrinking. Relatively flat population growth is another indicator.
I believe in results based analysis. How do we evaluate results?
We could count hotel rooms. Or public works projects. Or miles of highway.
I’m kidding! None of those are viable economic indicators, unless they represent an increase in demand. But supply does not equal demand. You can build it, and they still might not come.
See, the city adopted this expansionist policy back in 2012, back when El Paso was fat. City Council said, “Hey, we had a good year. Let’s max out the credit cards so our grandkids don’t get any inheritance.” And they did. They made decisions that we’re still borrowing money to pay for, even though we have less money and more debt than we did when the decisions were made.
Eventually, some adult in the room needs to step back and see where our policies have brung us. And then have the courage to take a stand and make some changes.
But I’m not seeing it. Not in this political lifetime.