Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

As if to illustrate my point, my good friend Chuco Geek had this to say about my most recent article regarding the way some people seem to be willfully misstating the facts about Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones:

RIch,

You are lying. People in a TIRZ pay the same taxes that we all pay and those taxes go into the general fund just like everyone else’s do. In addition to those taxes they also pay into the TIRZ and that money is spent on whatever the TIRZ is supposed to spend money on. In theory this means that they pay more in taxes/fees for their piece of land and they are able to get some things fast tracked and built faster than if they waited around for the powers that be to work something into the overall budget.

That’s not to say that setting up a TIRZ to facilitate the destruction of open space just so that developers can make more money by encouraging sprawl is a good thing, but saying that the property owners don’t pay the same taxes that we do is disingenuous. In general they end up paying more in taxes but then they get to decide what to spend the extra money on.

A competing interpretation comes from the Texas Comptroller:

When a municipality or county creates a TIRZ, it records the total taxable value of all real property within the zone. It’s like a snapshot in time of what the property values are at that specific moment. That snapshot is the zone’s base value.

Each year, property taxes collected in the zone on base value continue to go into the municipality’s or county’s general fund, as most property taxes do.

But as property in the TIRZ develops and becomes more valuable, a portion of the taxes collected on property above the base value is deposited into a tax increment fund. Revenue deposited in the tax increment fund can be only used to financing projects within the zone, including infrastructure, facade programs, landscaping, streetscaping or practically any type of public enhancement.

You can read my explanation of the TIRZ in the comments of the original post, right under Mr. Geek’s disparaging comment.

Mr. Geek’s apology, by the way, has not yet been received.

Apparently Mr. Geek’s misinterpretation is widespread. You can read it on any of the local blogs bent on persuading you through lies and misinformation. I’m sure those bloggers mean well. For their sponsors. Not for El Paso’s taxpayers.

What TIRZ 12 means to every El Pasoan is that those people in the TIRZ are going to take the money the rest of us put into the general fund, for public safety and street repairs, and use it for “streetscaping or practically any type of public enhancement.”

A monorail, maybe, or a soft serve ice cream cart.

When you’re selling a blind horse, the first thing you tell the mark is how good the horse can see.

3 comments

  1. You can keep lying about it, but what you quoted from the Texas Comptroller doesn’t match what you wrote. I was not entirely correct in how I thought the TIRZ worked and I apologize for not getting it entirely right, but you are still trying to make it sound like the folks in the TIRZ don’t pay any of the taxes that the rest of us do. Only a PORTION of the additional taxes go to the TIRZ, the rest of them go to the general fund so why not emphasize that it’s just a portion of the taxes on the additional value that then goes to funding TIRZ projects? Like I said, I think the situation is crappy enough that you could fight it straight up without manipulating the facts to try and manufacture a conspiracy.

    I wasn’t lying, I was partially wrong and I apologize. You are just doubling down on your conspiracy theory but I guess that’s your schtick so keep it up. I’m sure it will work wonders when it comes time for folks to vote.

    1. Mr. Geek,

      Those are weasel words. You weren’t partially wrong. You didn’t understand how a TIRZ works and you pretended you did.

      I guess you weren’t paying attention when one of our past City Councils approved TIRZ 5, the downtown TIRZ. Curious, that.

      You hadn’t even reared your pretty head when I made the original post. Yet you jumped right on it and accused me of lying.

      Collective willful ignorance, propounded by the willfully ignorant, doesn’t constitute a conspiracy. But there’s little difference between the willfully ignorant collectively offering their ignorance as truth and a conspiracy.

      I never accused you of lying. Apparently reading for comprehension is not one of your strengths. You, however, accused me of lying. Twice. Show me one time where I lied. Even one time.

      May I suggest pistols at dawn? I’ll set my alarm.

  2. Can we make it at high noon instead? l’m usually a late sleeper and l’ll even treat the survivor to a complimentary lunch. Rich, in all honesty l want to thank you for adequately explaining what a TIRZ is. Before this whole TIRZ “thingy” made mainstream local news, l was at least 90% ignorant on what it truly is. Now l’m pretty sure my little brain has finally figured it out. Conspiracies? Heck, if want a good dose of unproven, delusional, wackaloon conspiracies, l simply go to, well, let’s just call him ‘The Lobbyist.’ Out of the millions of posts that Lobby Boy has produced over the last 700 years, his latest one might be his craziest. He’s making the case that a strong Mayor would be reckless. According to him, there were tons of pre City Manager Mayors who did nothing but take zillions of $ every waking moment. He’s grateful that we don’t have one of the highest tax rates in the nation because we were smart enough to have a City Manager form of gov. He gets even nuttier – Shapleigh continues to control the town with his “campers.” Byrd no longer wants to be the Mayor because she will become more powerful just as soon as she picks the next 4 or 5 council members. Vero owns every patron in town. A strong Mayor means that Council members will keep getting pay raises – it never happened. l could easily go on pointing out the mentally deranged statements that he makes on his blog but you get the idea. l no longer post comments on The Lobbyist’s blog because l got tired of being deleted.

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