Everybody’s talking about all the Economic Development taking place downtown.
Here, for instance, is that nice lady who has taken over as Executive Director of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce in an opinion piece she wrote for the El Paso Inc.:
We have benefited from these projects, citizens continue to enjoy them, and businesses across the community have benefited from the economic development. These facts alone are hard to contest, but I would argue that completing the remaining projects are crucial benchmarks for the community. The vocal minority against the completion of these projects would have you believe that there are no benefits to completing the bond projects. That is simply not the case. As with the same vocal minority against the baseball stadium, MountainStar Sports Group has positively impacted Downtown and El Paso with the Chihuahuas and the Locomotives.
The economic development impact has been clear, as has something else: community pride. The arena project is not meant to deny or disregard the history that is already in our community but to enforce it, and even shine a light on it. This generation deserves to make its own history, and we must allow them a space to leave their mark.
Ms. Andrea Hutchins says “These facts alone are hard to contest . . . ,” she says. “The economic development impact has been clear . . . .”
Well, let’s look at it.
According to this chart made available by the City of El Paso, in 2020, the taxable value of properties in TIRZ 5, the downtown Tax Increment Refinancing Zone, was $360,737,520. In 2022, the taxable value of properties in TIRZ 5 had dropped to $307,188,030. That’s a loss over two years of 14.8%.
Falling property values are not associated with Economic Development.
And in any other universe, the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce would not advocate for projects that increase the tax burden for small businesses.
(Did you know that the Chairman of the Board of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce is Brad Taylor, Senior Vice President of MountainStar Sports?)
But welcome to El Paso, and check out the emperor’s new threads.
You can’t fool all the people all the time, and the emperor is naked.