“And the Winner Is . . .”

Yay! We’re Number 1 on another list!

The Lincoln Institute for Land Policy has come out with their list of communities with the highest tax rates, and El Paso almost swept it.

Here’s a brief summary of the awards ceremony:

“In the category Homestead Property Taxes for the Largest Fifty U.S. Cities: Median Valued Homes, With Assessment Limits, the winner is (may I have the envelope, please) . . . El Paso, Texas!”

“In the category Industrial Property Taxes for the Largest Fifty U.S. Cities, the winner is . . . El Paso, Texas!”

For Property Taxes on Apartment Buildings, we only took second place. That tax is especially punitive when you consider that apartment dwellers don’t get a homestead tax deduction, so all those property taxes that the landlords pay get built into the rent.

For Commercial Property, we came in third, but I’m sure the City Government is working on improving our ranking for this year.

Of course, there’s some wrinkles. If you take away the Assessment Limits on Homesteads, El Paso drops to second place, because El Paso doesn’t have Assessment Limits, and I guess Detroit (#1) does.

City Government tries to justify our high property tax rates because our property values are low. Our homestead property values are low because our supply of houses is high relative to the demand for houses here. It’s the same for Commercial and Industrial Properties.

But the truth is bigger than that. Another reason is that City Government never saw a boondoggle they didn’t like. So we’ve got a ballpark, and a streetcar, and a dozen other projects snapping at our heels like a pack of hungry pit bulls.

If only we could elect a mayor who would promise to Hold the Line on Taxes.


  1. Pit bulls get a bad rap. Late stage syphilitic dementia opossums would be a more appropriate metaphor.

  2. “As the largest source of revenue raised by local governments, a well-functioning property tax
    system is critical for promoting municipal fiscal health”….
    interesting read.

  3. I believe the reason our property values are so low is because our wages and salaries are low. Our average household income is in the mid-40s while the national average is in the mid-60s!

    1. When property tax rates go up, people have to buy cheaper houses, because property taxes are usually built into their house payments. Cheaper houses mean smaller commissions for real estate agents. You’d think that GEPAR would endorse candidates that oppose higher property taxes. Funny that they don’t, isn’t it?

  4. I remain opposed to higher tax rates; $3.00 per $100 of evaluation (for all taxing entities) is too rich for my beer budget. I haven’t kept track of who GEPAR endorsed lately, but how would they really know who supports or opposes higher property tax rates and taxes? By what the candidate says? OK….

    Suppose the total property tax rate went up 10% to $3.30 (or 3.3% of market value) on a listed $150K property. That would be an extra $450 the buyer would have added to his annual mortgage payment, or about $40 per month. The buyer might not qualify and have to buy a cheaper property. But $40 a month can’t explain the 2 to 1 difference in home values nationally and here. The median national home price is twice the median home price in El Paso! It’s education, skills and wages, and taxes, and fees, and utility rates – not just property taxes.

    1. If anyone tries to explain prices to you, and they say anything other than supply and demand, they’re bullshitting you.

      Your friend,

  5. Supply and demand both include price. You as much as admitted that when you said that tax rate increases, when added to mortgage payments, would drive buyers to cheaper homes! I agree!

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