Planning for a Static State

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, in 2012, El Paso’s population was 674,588. In 2022, our population was 677,456. Since 2012, El Paso’s population has grown by 2868. That represents an increase of less than one half of one percent.

In Fiscal Year 2012, the budget of the City of El Paso was $714,834,193. Today the City’s budget for FY2024 is $1,171,086,079. That represents an increase of 64%.

Our institutions grow every year. Water rates have increased every year for the last 10 years. Electric bills go up every year. City employees are guaranteed a salary or wage increase every year. The police and fire departments are guaranteed salary increases every year, as are the employees of El Paso Water.

If you work for a large institution, you expect a raise every year. Unfortunately, the pool of people who are paying for all those pay raises is not increasing, nor, for the most part, are their incomes.

Eight of the top ten employers in El Paso are government entities. The City of El Paso would like to change that, but they’re going to need more of our money to make it happen.

Based on the track record, that should scare you.

All of the growing institutions claim that pay increases, and the exorbitant salaries that are being increased, are necessary to keep the best employees from jumping ship. But where would they go? There aren’t a lot of options in El Paso, so are our institutions competing with other, more attractive cities, with higher costs of living?

The City of El Paso, and El Paso Water, are all getting ready for a big population boom that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

Those resources could better serve El Pasoans if they were deployed for something El Pasoans need.

The City Design Lab, via, is unaware that El Paso’s population isn’t growing. They’re setting the table for a party that no one is coming to. Witness, for instance Downtown + Uptown Plan. Witness, for instance, Onward Alameda. Witness, for instance, the Cohen Master Plan, which merited a whole .pdf booklet you can get to from the Elev8EP website.

Plans aren’t bad. But plans need to be rooted in reality. And the reality is that the population of El Paso, the taxpayer base, isn’t growing, while all of our institutions — our government bodies and our utilities — are growing like weeds.

You know what they say: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. But if you plan without regard to reality, you’re just daydreaming.


  1. Well, out here in the desert with a river that’s empty a good part of the year, big population growth would hardly be a good thing…EP is at most at the sustainable limit!

  2. I wonder how many people are visitors to El Paso every day/year. How many who live in Juarez and New Mexico for example live, work or visit every year? The city is promoting itself to potential visitors. All those people are using the roads, flushing toilets, etc. How is the City capturing their money and what is it used for? This is a really big topic which does deserve more analysis and information.

  3. Until El Pasoans in the county and city realize they are electing nothing but self-interest democrats in office, taxes will continue to increase. Prime example county Commissioners giving themselves a 16% pay raise. None of them are worth 50K a year. They don’t have a problem raising taxes for their self-interest projects, screw the taxpayers.
    We have thieves in the city government that have been caught using gas cards for their own personal use and P-cards to buy turkeys for their constituents (I call that vote buying). El paso politicians at all levels whether, city county, state of federal could care less about voters until it comes time for us to vote. Yes, I am a conservative and will not vote for a democrat!

  4. Yes, the City of El Paso’s population is flat over the 2012-2022 period you look at. As a bit of better growth news for the area, the overall populations of El Paso County and Dona Ana County grew by over 4% in the same 10-year period. So, the growth is not really inside the city itself – its more an outside-the-city-inside-the county growth or growth of the adjacent county. Just as two indicators, Sunland Park grew 17 percent and Las Cruces grew over 12 percent over the same 10-year period. Now, I would assume the local government budgets and taxes and expenditures all grew must faster than the population did – but there is also an inflationary factor that needs to be taken into account. I’m not disagreeing with your main point or any of the comments being made here – just taking in a bit more data to get perhaps not as dire a picture.

    1. Max Grossman says that if you take inflation into account, the City’s budget grew by 37%, I believe him.

      My point is that the City acts like we’re a booming metropolis. But we’re not. As you mentioned, everywhere around the City is growing, but inside the city limits we’re not. Why is that?

      Talk among yourselves.

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