Many El Pasoans do not understand that increasing our property tax burden causes an increase in rental rates for apartment units because property owners pass along their rising business cost to their tenants.
Two months after City Manager Tommy Gonzalez assumed office in summer 2014, our City Council voted to adopt the no-new -revenue property tax rate. But starting in FY 2015-2016, our City increased our effective property tax burden for eight years in a row, right through the present day. The City portion of our property tax has risen from 25% to 30% since Gonzalez began his job.
The effect on property owners has been very painful, but tens of thousands of tenants have suffered as well.
APARTMENT RENTAL RATES UP 24% SINCE JANUARY 2021
According to ALN Apartment Data, the largest collector of apartment data in the United States, the average monthly rental rate for an apartment in El Paso rose from about $815 in January 2021 to about $1,010 in October 2022, an increase of 24%.
The data reveal that “affordable” housing accounts for 26% of the El Paso market and that the average cost of an affordable unit is now $755/month.
I do not have precise data on the rental rates in the Segundo Barrio and other neighborhoods where residents are financially vulnerable but I know that apartments generally went for well under $600/month as recently as early 2021. In a previous email I reported that the rental rates in one Duranguito tenement just increased from $470-500/month to up to $800/month.
THE CITY OF EL PASO IS GUILTY AS CHARGED
So when our City Council continues to raise our property tax year after year, there is a devastating effect on our barrio residents.
Thanks to the passage of the $272,400,000 Community Progress Bond, the average residential property tax in El Paso will rise $60/year. I refer you to the outstanding report by Danielle Prokop of El Paso Matters, which documents the City’s recent bond issuances.
When you consider the other bond issuances that we can soon expect from the City, County and UMC, we are talking about over $1 billion in new debt, raising the average residential tax by well over $200/year, depending on interest rates.
As a result, we will continue to see rental rates rise sharply and many of our City’s poorest residents may be forced from their homes, especially in our urban barrios.
WE CANNOT AFFORD TAX-AND-SPEND CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES
Up until now, the majority of our City Council representatives have voted for property tax hikes and massive debt issuances, including more than a half-billion dollars in certificates of obligation, for eight years in a row.
Most of our elected City leaders do not care if we pay higher taxes or if rental rates shoot up as a result. In fact, Cassandra Hernandez of District 3 has actually advocated for higher property valuations so that the City may collect more tax revenue.
Analisa Silverstein, Claudia Lizette Rodriguez and Bettina Olivares are the current tax-and-spend candidates for City Council and they are primarily supported by financial contributions from the Oligarchy.
If we want our City to stop taxing us into oblivion, it is imperative that they lose!