I hate to say I told you so, but . . .
Data show El Paso’s population is stagnating and its average wages continue to be among the lowest levels in the nation.
That’s why El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar held what she dubbed a “conversation starter” by convening a mini economic development summit Tuesday with a panel of El Paso leaders with expertise in economic development, education and workforce development.
“If we don’t do something to plan for the next phase in our economy the indicators are pretty scary,” including low wages, flat population growth, and a renewed “brain drain” from the University of Texas at El Paso, Escobar said after listening to the five-member panel discuss the good and bad of this region’s economy.
El Paso needs “to create a broad vision for where our community needs to go next to grow wages. Stagnant wages was a big issue” in Tuesday’s discussion, noted Escobar, a Democrat serving her first term in Congress.
El Paso County’s population grew just under 1 percent in the five years from 2014 to 2018 to 840,758 people, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. That compares to the population growing almost 4 percent in the five years from 2010 to 2014, the federal agency’s estimates indicate.
That’s pretty sloppy reporting from the El Paso Times, on a couple of counts.
First, which of these five leaders has expertise in Economic Development? if they’re good at it, they can bust out their expertise any time now.
And why pick 2014 as the start of the trend? The real inflection point was 2012.
The population of El Paso County grew 3.6% from 2010 to 2012, declined in 2013, and then grew 0.7% from 2014 to 2018. From 2012 to 2018, the population of El Paso County grew 0.9%.
Why wouldn’t the El Paso Times say that the population of El Paso County only grew just under one percent since 2012?
Maybe because the El Paso Times didn’t want anyone linking the ballpark and the 2012 QOL bond election to the precipitous downturn in El Paso’s economic well being.
Remember, to sell those bonds, the advocates had to convince the El Paso electorate that the city needed a half a billion dollar makeover to make it a good place to live. You can’t convince the voters that the city sucks and then turn around and try to convince relocation experts that El Paso is a great place to live.
That’s a lot of cognitive dissonance to swallow.
Also, on an unrelated note, did anyone on the panel bring up El Paso’s punitive property tax rates, which are the highest in the nation?
We can, however, attract Destination Retail, if we reimburse them for their property taxes.
Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Woe are we, El Paso. Woe are we.