In an uncharacteristic manifestation of candor, the El Paso Times today ran a story on property taxes.
Let me say that again. The El Paso Times ran a story on property taxes. The headline read El Paso property tax bills continue to rise.
But this year’s increase for a total property tax bill, ranging from $25 to $122, depending on the school district a home is located, continues a 10-year trend that has El Paso County in the upper half of the nation’s largest counties for property tax bills, according to a study done several years ago.
” . . . continues a 10-year trend that has El Paso County in the upper half of the nation’s largest counties for property tax bills” is a gentle way of saying that the City of El Paso’s residential property tax rate is the third highest in the nation, as noted in this post from Brutus at ElPasoSpeak.com.
Too much candor all at once might be lethal.
“As a middle-class homeowner, I think of my property tax bill every single month, and how I’m going to pay it,” said Max Grossman, an art history professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. “I pay $633 per month in property taxes, or 37.4 percent of my (monthly) mortgage payment. That seems to be an incredibly high figure.
“The fact I pay so much in property taxes every month means I go out to dinner less and buy less things in the local economy,” Grossman said.
Not to mention that when property taxes go up, so does the cost of everything else.
El Paso Realtor Jackie York said she’s seen buyers forced to buy lower-priced homes than they originally planned in order to qualify for home loans and have mortgage payments they could afford.
She’s also seen buyers in the Upper Valley go across the state line to get a home in New Mexico, which has lower property taxes, she said.
I speculate that, as the tail wags the dog, this long delayed recognition of our property tax burden by our city’s English-language daily signals a policy shift by City government. I suspect that they’ll delay some of those QoL projects till homeowners can catch their breath.
At least, one can hope.