El Paso is poor.
According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 267,376 households in El Paso County in 2016, with a median family income of $42,165. (Median income means that half of those 267,376 households made less than that, and half made more.) Those 133,188 households that made less than $42,165 have extremely limited household entertainment budgets. Yet, by building expensive entertainment venues with public funds, the City is foisting a property tax increase on those struggling households.
What’s it cost to feed a family? To buy them clothes? To put a roof over their heads? To send them to school, and get them shots, and save for higher education?
What’s it cost to get to work? To maintain a car? To dress for work, whether it’s a uniform or blue jeans and sturdy shoes?
What’s it cost to retire?
Lots of El Pasoans, and not just the poor, are cutting it pretty thin. A single minor catastrophe is a major crisis. An illness or an accident can derail a future, maybe for a generation. Maybe forever.
Our ruling class is either ignorant of indifferent to the situations of our community’s poor. They’ve been other places, and seen how other places do things. Never mind that El Paso is the poorest Metropolitan Statistical Area of its size in the U.S. (The only comparable MSA is McAllen–Edinburg–Mission, and we’re not modeling that.) Never mind that El Paso is culturally, economically, and geographically unique.
Never mind that since we embarked on this grand experiment in 2012, our population growth has flatlined, and our tax base is collapsing.
Our ruling class lives in a bubble. The rest of us can eat cake.