Late to the Party

I hate to say I told you so, but . . .

From the El Paso Times:

Data show El Paso’s population is stagnating and its average wages continue to be among the lowest levels in the nation.

That’s why El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar held what she dubbed a “conversation starter” by convening a mini economic development summit Tuesday with a panel of El Paso leaders with expertise in economic development, education and workforce development. 

“If we don’t do something to plan for the next phase in our economy the indicators are pretty scary,” including low wages, flat population growth, and a renewed “brain drain” from the University of Texas at El Paso, Escobar said after listening to the five-member panel discuss the good and bad of this region’s economy.

El Paso needs “to create a broad vision for where our community needs to go next to grow wages. Stagnant wages was a big issue” in Tuesday’s discussion, noted Escobar, a Democrat serving her first term in Congress. 

El Paso County’s population grew just under 1 percent in the five years from 2014 to 2018 to 840,758 people, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. That compares to the population growing almost 4 percent in the five years from 2010 to 2014, the federal agency’s estimates indicate.

That’s pretty sloppy reporting from the El Paso Times, on a couple of counts.

First, which of these five leaders has expertise in Economic Development? if they’re good at it, they can bust out their expertise any time now.

And why pick 2014 as the start of the trend? The real inflection point was 2012.

U.S. Census Bureau Estimates

The population of El Paso County grew 3.6% from 2010 to 2012, declined in 2013, and then grew 0.7% from 2014 to 2018. From 2012 to 2018, the population of El Paso County grew 0.9%.

Why wouldn’t the El Paso Times say that the population of El Paso County only grew just under one percent since 2012?

Maybe because the El Paso Times didn’t want anyone linking the ballpark and the 2012 QOL bond election to the precipitous downturn in El Paso’s economic well being.

Remember, to sell those bonds, the advocates had to convince the El Paso electorate that the city needed a half a billion dollar makeover to make it a good place to live. You can’t convince the voters that the city sucks and then turn around and try to convince relocation experts that El Paso is a great place to live.

That’s a lot of cognitive dissonance to swallow.

Also, on an unrelated note, did anyone on the panel bring up El Paso’s punitive property tax rates, which are the highest in the nation?

Punitive property tax rates discourage capital intensive businesses from moving to El Paso.

We can, however, attract Destination Retail, if we reimburse them for their property taxes.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Woe are we, El Paso. Woe are we.

6 comments

  1. Infinite population growth cannot be sustained in El Paso…and who wants a million or more people in the sprawl? We need to stop obsessing about adding more bodies and consider what would really improve the quality of life here…and attract good businesses! No doubt one key attractor would be a city government that is not on the verge of bankruptcy…Ms. Wilson can tell us how we started down that slippery slope…oh well….

  2. El Paso needs to demand higher wages. The city council needs to lead by example and put the people’s needs first. Without vision the people parish!

  3. I think the real problem
    is that El Paso’s small elite is so incestuous that, even those who consider themselves “progressive” & forward-looking, will never flat out challenge the Margoite troglodytes, & their royalist view of ruling the City.

    So many of the people who rail against high tax rates & decrepit neighborhoods never bite the bullet, & coalesce into an overtly anti-elitist force, to sweep out the self-enriching leeches from local government, & public policy.

    You “liberal” complainers need to put up or shut up. Clean out the piggies, & stop making excuses!

      1. I will never be able to figure out how you and a few other local bloggers that l enjoy are able to put up with the plethora of stupidity and/or simple mindedness from a vast majority of the commenting masses. But this week, someone has outdone them all, and she’s our very own Veronica Escobar! (insert mild golf clap) ‘Well, the problem with El Paso is, is that l think we need to do something.’ Whoa! That’s so profound that l better write that down in case l forget it. Now if you’ll excuse me, l’m going to jump in my time machine and go back to the pre Cook and Wilson era. This is the 915 version of the Middle Ages. Back when we were kinda, sorta economically responsible which is probably why El Paso was quite content on being El Paso.

  4. People need to make changes where they can. Start with small, incremental change: planting a tree or a garden. Demand our city “leaders” stop funding boondoggle projects and just provide basic services. Everyone wants to live in a city where the residents appear to care about their property, but it’s hard in El Paso because property taxes are so high that it is often a choice between maintaining your home or paying your taxes lest you lose it. People need to demand a property tax freeze.

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