Those Gratuitous TIRZs

The City of El Paso is going out of its way to develop some land on the fringe of the city.

First it was TIRZ 12, up by Transmountain on the west side. Now it’s TIRZ 13, out in Northeast.

It’s crazy. Since 2012, El Paso’s population has grown a little less than three tenths of one percent a year. That is less than can be attributed to natural growth, i.e., births minus deaths. Hardly anyone is moving to El Paso. All those new houses on the east side, and in northwest El Paso, are mostly being bought by native El Pasoans leaving the nest, but not the city.

So why is City Council so hot to incentivize sprawl out there on the fringes?

I’ve got a theory. My theory is complete conjecture. Complete speculation with no basis in fact beyond my extensive life experiences.

Suppose there were a major developer, with a major development machine, headquartered in El Paso. And suppose the lack of demand for houses in El Paso, because not very many people are moving here, and a lot of people are moving away, meant that the developer might have to lay a bunch of people off.

Well, that developer might try to find some work for his employees instead of laying them off.

So he might ask his friends in City Government to free up some land, so he could keep his crews working, instead of laying them off.

And since market forces alone can’t justify developing the land, he might quietly ask for some tax incentives to offset the cost of development. Via Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones.

Of course, that’s wild speculation and complete conjecture. But it makes sense of a nonsensical situation.

“When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” — Sherlock Holmes

Or maybe we shouldn’t expect City Council to make sense.


  1. The fastest growing demographic in El Paso is babies. Wage earners from 18 to 35 are fleeing El Paso. Old white people are dropping like flies. So it’s interesting. Pretty soon La Raza will own this town. Like a dog that chases a car. What do you do when you catch it?

  2. Dear Tom, l want to thank you for the ample amount of wisdom and insightfulness that you just brought to the intellectual table. As a precaution, l’ve decided NOT to be reactive but proactive. l am proud to announce to the world that l just purchased the ‘La Raza anti-infiltration Survival Kit.’ You can find them at Walmart (between cosmetics and the automotive sections.) But you better hurry, because when l got there, there was only four left. The kit includes: a DIY emergency snap-on wall (1.7 million bullet proof legos,) two 38 cal. sniper rifles with 150 rounds, 10 frag grenades, 4 machetes, 7.5 pounds of teriyaki-flavored beef jerky, 5 cases of Rockstar energy drinks, one bag of Family-sized Cheetos, and one tube of super glue. lt was quite a chore to bring all of that into the house, but l feel safer already. Yep, it’s obvious that Tommy and l aren’t as stupid and foolish like all of you are!

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