by Max Grossman

Today the County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to increase the County property tax rate to $0.458889 per $100 of assessed value, which is five cents more than the no-new-revenue rate that would have spared us a tax hike.

In fact, $0.458889 is the highest possible tax rate not requiring voter authorization.

Commissioner Iliana Holguin of Precinct 3 strenuously dissented, arguing that she expects a windfall of more than $20 million from various sources that would increase County revenue anyway. She favored not increasing the County tax at all, but she was out-voted by her colleagues on the Commissioners Court.


In addition to increasing our County property tax, the County Commissioners Court recently voted 4-1, with Commissioner Holguin dissenting, to increase their salaries by 16.2% to $133,500 for the four Commissioners and $152,700 for the County Judge.

Today, 25 citizens appeared at Public Comment (starting at the 4:30 mark) to criticize the salary increase, with not a single supporter.

In 2016, our four County Commissioners were paid $62,680 per year and the County Judge was paid $87,577. In August of that year they commissioned a survey of County salaries in other Texas cities which they then used as justification for raising their own salaries.

Commissioners Leon and Stout were among those present in 2016 during the 3-2 vote for a 42.4% pay hike, increasing their salaries to $89,250 while the Judge’s salary was increased to $102,000. Leon voted “no” and Stout voted “yes”.

In the years following, the Commissioners Court voted for a series of additional increases.

After the recent vote for the 16.2% hike, starting October 1 our Commissioners will earn $133,500 and the Judge $152,700.

That means Commissioners Stout and Leon will earn 113% more than they earned in 2016.

These salary hikes are indefensible. No advanced degree is required to serve in these positions.

Today Leon, Stout, Coronado, and Samaniego went through rhetorical acrobatics to try to convince the public and themselves that they deserve executive salaries while 17% of local families live in poverty.


In 2016 the Commissioners Court tried to justify double-digit increases in their salaries by analyzing the salaries of Commissioners and County Judges in other large Texas cities, but without regard for median household income or total population.

Examining current data from the Texas Association of Counties, there are now only seven counties where Commissioners earn more than in El Paso, and as any fool can see below, one cannot compare them to El Paso. Five have much larger populations and the other two have median household incomes above $85,000.

1. Tarrant, $188,476, budget $935M, pop. 2,126,477, median income $72K
2.  Montgomery, $186,034, budget 372M, pop. 648,886, median income $85K
3.  Harris, $182,562, budget 5.1B, pop. 4,728,030, median income $62K
4.  Fort Bend, $144,853, budget 459M, pop. 858,000, median income $97K
5.  Bexar, $140,616, budget, 1.4B, pop. 2,028,236, median income $60K
6.  Travis, $139,733, budget 1.4B, pop. 1,305,154, median income $83K
7.  Collin, $136,599, budget 240M, pop. 1,109,462, median income $102K
8.  El Paso, $133,500, budget 595M, pop. 867,947, median income $49K

As you can see, the El Paso Commissioners Court is now grossly overpaid, but I guess that is to be expected.

El Paso County has the highest paid county official in Texas, our County Auditor ($241,824), the second highest paid County Attorney ($200,242), and the fifth highest paid Sheriff ($176,135).

I guess the other 99.99% of us are in the wrong line of work.

Don’t you wish you could vote to more than double your salary in only seven years?


  1. Another example of El Paso democratic politicians dishonesty, and caring only for their self interest. These clowns do not have any additional duties for these outrageous salary increases.

  2. Nice try, Franco, but we all know better. Local politics are not either/or, and while we do overall tend to vote Democrat in this part of the world, that does not mean you can blame the political party for El Paso’s woes.

  3. Totally agree with Mr. Dungan…if you want to Blame Democrats, go look at the “Big Picture,” i.e…National Politicians…..Mitch McConnel should be in a Nursing Home, yet he is hanging on for dear life. He was a poor man when he entered the Senate/Professional Politics since 1975…He has become a Multi Millionaire Many times over…How does a poor man like McConnel become a “Multi Millionaire.”….or Chuck Grassley, who has been in Politics since 1958….Another 89 year old hanging on for dear life and squeezing his extra millions for his Private Retirement Income…..or don’t go further than our own REPUBLICAN Attorney General…Paxton….being sued for Malfeasance and unethical enrichment….Or Hot Wheels Abby (Greg Abbott)…who sued the owner and tree service company for $15 MILLION….after a tree fell on him. STILL getting paid since 1980….yet capped for you or me or the average “Jose” at $250K under “Tort Reform.” In other words….$15 MILLION for him and everyone else gets $250K…now raised to $750K….Nice Try. But Hypocrisy is the new name of the Republican Party. I could write a book…

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