El Pasoans were never given the opportunity to vote on whether they wanted a Ballpark in downtown El Paso or whether City Hall should be demolished to build it there.

City Manager Joyce Wilson, Steve Ortega, and their minions told us the project would cost only $50 million, and then the price was adjusted upwards to $64,000,000. The City demolished $14.8 million worth of real estate (City Hall and Insights Museum) and moved its offices into a half-dozen different locations, each of which had to be separately renovated. The total cost to the taxpayers has exceeded $150,000,000.

The voters were then sold on increasing the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) to 17.5%, one of the highest in America, diverting tens of millions of dollars to the Ballpark rather than funding tourist initiatives that would directly benefit the hotel industry.

As things turned out, the taxpayers were forced to contribute $3,676,889 in subsidies from the General Fund from 2014 through 2021, with the HOT subsidy providing an additional $34,064,884 from 2014 through 2023.

In 2023, the last full calendar year for which statistics are available, the City collected $4,179,101 in HOT plus another $11,079 in HOT penalties.

The revenues in 2023 totaled $1,033,346 and consisted of $331,665 from ticket sales, $275,000 from leasing the property, $242,726 from sales tax, $139,400 from parking fees, $41,416 from investment interest, and $3,139 from unrealized gains.

The expenditures in 2023 totaled $5,387,229, and consisted of $2,612,832 in bond interest, $1,630,000 in bond principal, and $26,925 in legal and administrative costs.

Substracting the revenue from the expenditures, the Ballpark lost $4,353,883 in 2023. In other words, 81% of Ballpark expenditures were covered by subsidies.

We believe firmly that government should stay out of the entertainment business and that the Hotel Occupancy Tax should be used for a purpose other than subsidizing a ballpark that hosts a privately-owned baseball franchise, especially in El Paso, where taxpayers have more pressing needs.