A Tax By Any Other Name

by Max Grossman

On May 3, the Texas House passed HB 78, which would increase the registration fee for a standard vehicle in El Paso County from $84 to $94, making our fee the highest of the 254 counties in Texas.

I confirmed this information with the County Tax Assessor Ruben Gonzalez.

The bill was sponsored by 14 Representatives, 2 Republicans from Bexar County and 12 Democrats, and it passed 85 to 57. All the “nay” votes were Republicans.

Among the sponsors were the four members of the El Paso delegation:

Mary Gonzalez of District 75
Lina Ortega of District 77
Joe Moody of District 78
Claudia Ordaz Perez of District 79

Beyond our base registration fee, El Pasoans pay a $10 Road and Bridge Fee and a $10 Regional Mobility Authority fee (that is imposed by only five other Texas counties).

HB 78 would increase the RMA fee to $20 and that would allow the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) to finance hundreds of millions in bonds for infrastructure improvements.

Our CRRMA is chaired by former City Manager Joyce Wilson, who was appointed by Governor Abbot, and includes Joe Wardy and other surrogates for the Oligarchy.

HB 78 will now go to the Texas Senate, and I suspect Cesar Blanco will push for its passage, but with any luck the Senate Republicans will kill it dead.

Please write to our State Delegation to oppose this unprecedented fee hike, which would make our vehicle registration the most expensive in Texas!


I can only imagine what this fee would be used to finance. Can you say “DECK PARK”?


  1. Last time I looked, the local oligarchs gave LOTS of $$$$$ to the state republican party, Abbott, Patrick et al. They seem to be the ones who want this stupid six-block deck park, so persuaded the local bureaucratic and nonprofit/foundation handmaidens to push for this additional ‘tax’ and get the state dem reps to be the front people to push in the Lege. What a convoluted political game.

  2. And for some reason our congressional rep, Veronica Escobar, supports this deck, which of course also entails the stupid expansion of I-10 through the downtown area, wrecking the connection to more northern areas of town for years, and primarily to allow more massive traffic that does not benefit El Paso in any way – and increases air pollution. Many days you can barely see downtown now…and going to get worse. The Deck will be a perfect place to see it…

    1. If the deck were built without widening I-10, it wouldn’t be a bad thing and might make life a little quieter in Sunset Heights. It is the widening that is the problem, IMHO. That and the deck will probably be appropriated for private use, too, like a soccer field, widening or not.

      1. There’s no need to add the deck or take away more land to widen I-10. Go look at it. Both sides have sloped sides, Cut straight down and you have enough room for another lane and the breakdown lane. As far as the deck, it cuts access between downtown and the north side of that area to two streets, both one way, instead of 6 streets. Imagine how much noise and congestion that will cause. Finally, Sunset Heights will get noisier because the street at that point would be widened. It’s another “land grab” probably suggested by our oligarchy, one of whom owns a construction company.

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