This article originally appeared on 1 August 2017.
The City is proposing raising taxes as high as it can without putting it to the citizens to vote on.
The city next week will introduce an ordinance proposing an 8 percent tax rate increase — the highest it could adopt without triggering a rollback election.
That comes after the City Council on Monday voted 7 to 1 to publish the rollback rate of 81.3 cents as the proposed rate. City Rep. Dr. Michiel Noe voted against that proposed rate, which is 5.3 cents higher than the current rate.
City representatives said they won’t necessarily adopt the rollback rate, but that proposing it gives them wiggle room to add any last-minute funding requests to the proposed $895.5 million budget presented in early July.
Let me point out that the City already gave themselves “wiggle room” by low-balling revenues for the next fiscal year.
Here are some quotes I culled from candidate Dee Margo’s interview way back in May 29, 2017 issue of the El Paso Inc., before the election:
“We cannot afford any more tax increases given what we’re dealing with here with all of these bond issues.”
. . .
“There’s going to be a real confluence of things coming together that are really going to have an impact on the taxes that El Pasoans are paying.
You’ve got the Ysleta ISD bonds and the El Paso ISD bond, the city of El Paso bonds. My biggest concern is the budget has increasing revenue needs or expenses and the revenues aren’t projected to stay up with it. So you’re going to have to make choices and balance the budget with priorities.
People want their potholes repaired. That’s No. 1. It’s not S.B. 4; it’s potholes.
No. 2, is taxes.
My priorities would be to meet with the council members to see what their priorities are and then, hopefully, come up with the five that we all can agree on.”
. . .
“Well, I don’t want [taxes] to go up; that’s the bottom line. Given the revenue estimates, we’ll have to budget accordingly.
No, I’m not in favor of increased taxes. Everything you’re saying is correct, and we’re going to be heading into two different utilities wanting rate increases. We’re going to have to get into that and determine how it’s going to be handled.”
. . .
“We cannot afford any more tax increases given what we’re dealing with here with all of these bond issues. I’m in favor of all these bond issues. But we’ve got to get the jobs done and on time, and all we’ve got is we’re still procrastinating.”
I guess that was then, and this is now, and politicians are politicians.
No wonder no one votes.