The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation hired the Perryman Group to study and propose some suggestions regarding Economic Development in El Paso, and guess what? We’re doing it wrong.
I was going to reproduce the report here, but it’s 45 pages, and y’all have computers so you can look it up. There is a link to the report on the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation’s Facebook page, and if you are a member of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Andrea Hutchins, the President and CEO of the El Paso Chamber may have already sent you a copy.
Here’s Ms. Hutchins’ take on the report.
“The call to action from the report is clear: we simply can’t be playing catch-up in El Paso because so many cities are way ahead of us when it comes to recruiting businesses, talent, and offering a great quality of life for its residents,” said Andrea Hutchins President and CEO of the El Paso Chamber. “We need to be more aggressive about becoming a leader within Texas and establish El Paso as the place where businesses, college graduates, and families want to set roots and call home. And it should take everyone in the community working together to arrive at this goal,” Hutchins added.
I guess Ms. Hutchins is too new to El Paso to remember that playing catch-up is the keystone of our Economic Development plan. I mean, they only told us we needed a ballpark, a downtown arena, and a “vibrant downtown” because every other city had them.
Curiously, the Perryman Group report never mentions Quality of Life. As close as it gets to our Quality of Life program is to offer a few oblique references to “amenities”, and I get the distinct impression that those references were only shoehorned into the report as a sop to the people who commissioned it.
For the last 10 years, or more, El Paso’s Economic Development policy has only served to enrich real estate speculators and developers.
We give tax incentives to real estate speculators and developers. That, and to build amenities for the leisure class that the working class can’t afford. That, in a nutshell, is El Paso’s Economic Development policy. It’s a reverse Robin Hood proposition. We take money from the working class, and funnel it up the richest El Pasoans.
And how’s that working out for you? Higher taxes, higher utility rates, and no relief in sight.