Tax Breaks for the Rich

Did you see this story on KVIA?

El Paso City Council is considering establishing a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) that would include 3,900 acres of land in West El Paso.

. . .

“Those 3900 acres where we’re creating that TIRZ — those taxes can only be utilized for that area to be able to address those public improvements,” said Jessica Herrera, the City of El Paso’s economic development director.

Herrera said money generated by the TIRZ helps address problems with things like sidewalk improvements and storm water drainage. This makes the land more attractive to retailers and developers.

. . .

“We hope to attract anybody who is looking to come in, especially new to the market,” said Elizabeth Triggs, assistant director of economic development. “But the purpose of the TIRZ is really just to set up the fund so that we can fund projects that could encourage development.”

Not development that would generate property tax relief for El Paso’s current taxpayers. Just development for its own sake.

They’re not even pretending anymore. This is just a straight up gift to the developers.

Whatever you’re funding with your property taxes – police, or fire protection, or libraries or parks or those glitzy Quality of Life projects – the developers and the eventual buyers of these properties won’t be paying for. They’ll get to keep that money, generated by their property taxes, in their neighborhood. They’ll be able to fund a private amusement park. Private security service. A monorail.

And they’ll get the benefit of the services you’re funding with your property taxes, also. But they won’t be paying for them. You’ll be paying for them.

Imagine living in a neighborhood where the neighbors got to decide what to do with their property taxes. That’s this proposed neighborhood.

Tax Increment Refinancing Zones were originally intended to encourage development in blighted areas. Downtown has a TIRZ. So do nine other parts of town, not all of which were blighted. Some, like this one, are pristine, vacant desert, slated for new development.

By creating TIRZs, the City shifts the property tax burden away from these new developments onto the backs of the taxpayers that are already here. You, and your neighbors.

Kinda makes you wonder who the City’s working for, doesn’t it? Obviously not the people who are paying their salaries.


  1. Not to mention that this particular parcel of land includes the Lost Dog Trailhead and a large chunk of the hiking/biking trails accessed by it. I tell my friends in Seattle that one thing this city does have is great access to miles of mountain biking trails just minutes from my house. Now even that’s in jeopardy. In one of the unhealthiest populations in the country why on earth are we even considering anything that will deter people from getting outside and moving. Quality of life my ass. This town just can’t stop shooting itself in the foot.

  2. Not to mention the continuing destruction of the mountain, what could have been one of El Paso’s major tourism attractions. Almost too late.

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