Big Fibbers at City Hall Redux

Somehow I missed the point of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez’ press release about the new budget.

When Tommy Gonzalez was talking about the $20 million that he saved local taxpayers, he was referring to the income the City passed over by reducing the tax rate by 4.49 cents per hundred dollars of valuation. The reduction directed by City Council.

See, he thought that the full pop tax rate the City first proposed was already his money. He thought that he was cutting us some slack by reducing the tax rate. Like he was doing us a favor.

But if the City could afford that cut in the tax rate, why they didn’t come out with the final rate in the first place? If they could live with $20 million less, why didn’t they suggest that in the original proposal?

You can understand his reasoning by looking at the rest of his news release. According to ElPasoTimes.com, the City’s Strategic Economic Recovery plan includes “$196 million in savings on Texas Gas costs”, and “$28.3 million in savings on El Paso Electric rate case settlement, which comes to about $117 in savings for the average resident”.

Reading that you might think that your gas and electric bills are coming down.

Uh uh. Those numbers represent what you might have paid if the City had acquiesced to the utilities’ first proposal. And the utilities always ask for a lot, knowing that they’ll have to settle for less. It’s negotiation.

That’s not a real savings the City Manager is claiming. He’s grasping for any spin that denies that we’re hemorrhaging. The City’s “Strategic Economic Recovery Plan”? Really?

Like I’ve said, the City has lots of money. The problem for you is that their money is in your bank account.

The budget went up 9% this year, even with the reduction of the tax rate. That’s not real savings, anymore than if you buy a fishing boat on sale for 20% off. If you pay $800 for a $1000 fishing boat, you didn’t save $200. You spent $800.

The City’s budget is up 9% this year. At that rate, the City’s budget will double in 8 years.

That’s unsustainable. El Paso’s taxpayers can’t afford it.

Still, somebody has to pay that money back.

“Honey, look how much money I saved.”

City Government has never shown any inclination to save money. You save money by not spending it. Not by taking a little haircut on a budget that’s grown by ten percent.

6 comments

  1. So elect reps who believe in fiscal responsibility. That’s not easy in a Democrat city.

    1. Come on, JerryK. You know better than that! Democrat/shemocrat! Political affiliation has little to do with El Paso politics! Try this instead: Our city, for whatever reasons, is owned and operated by a select few rich folks, few of whom are Democrats. City Council votes for the few, the rich, the owners every gawdamm time!

    2. Over the last ten years, Republicans have been the chief beneficiaries of the City’s largess, and Republicans have largely financed the campaigns of most of the current members of City Council.

      The influence of party affiliation is fading. The old dog Democrats used to work the phone before election day, telling everyone how to vote. These days the internet has replaced the telephone, and more and more people are seeing that the emperor is naked.

      Still, most people are too busy or too apathetic to pay any attention to politics, and they rely on the opinions of people they trust. Sometimes those trusted people convince the voters to vote for someone or something that is not in the best interests of the voters. See, for instance, the 2012 Quality of Life bond elections.

      1. “Largesse,” Ricardo.
        The proper spelling is necessary to help us speed readers differentiate the word from the phrase “large ass.”
        Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

        1. My spell check says “largesse” is wrong, and “largess” is right.

          From my good friends at Merriam-Webster.com: “The word largesse, which also can be spelled largess, has been part of the English language since at least the 13th century. It derives via Anglo-French from the Latin word largus, meaning “abundant” or “generous.” Largus is also the source of our word large.”

          Nonetheless, I appreciate you paying attention and calling me out when I’m wrong, even if I’m right.

  2. Jerry K….Rich is Right, no Pun intended. But he’s right, the “Good ol’ Boys” are ALL Republicans and they run El Paso. We all know who they are….let us not kid ourselves. Anyone who wants to get Elected, especially on the West Side has to kow tow to the Powers that Be….This is not unique. I suggest you read up on Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, two Billionaires from Midland who run the Republican Party….Ed Lavandera did a good job of exposing these two, its on CNN.

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