City Reps. Hernandez, Salcido and Rodriguez published a column in the El Paso Times in which they brag about property tax exemptions for disabled and senior citizens and then congratulate themselves for their fiscal discipline.
I have to say that in my thirteen years in El Paso, I have never read such a load of BS.
They begin by reminding us that only 29% of our property tax goes to the City of El Paso, but they omit the fact that the City’s tax rate has grown far faster than the other four local taxing entities and that ten years ago the City portion was 25%. Since Tommy Gonzalez became City Manager, our City tax has increased 38%, from 66 cents to 91 cents per $100 of valuation!
They brag about leaving the City tax rate unchanged since 2020, even as the valuations of El Paso homes have increased in the double digits. That is, the City did not lower our tax rate when property valuations increased, effectively increasing our tax burden. Yes, they think we are that stupid!
The fact is that El Paso, when the rankings are adjusted for assessment limits, has the number one highest residential property tax rate in America among the 50 largest cities, and you can thank our City Council for getting us there!
To add insult to injury, the three reps drone on about all the wonderful things our deficit spending has purchased without mentioning, of course, the boondoggles they have supported and the hundreds of millions in incentives they have doled out to the Oligarchs.
REPS. CASSANDRA HERNANDEZ AND ISABEL SALCIDO RAISED YOUR TAXES AND SPENT US INTO A BLACK HOLE!
Let me remind you that Cassandra Hernandez voted for three huge property tax increases during her time in office. You see, we have been meticulously tracking every financial vote she and her colleagues cast. All of them. Every single one. Here are Hernandez’s votes for tax increases:
8/22/2017 Increase City property tax from $0.759656 to $0.803433
8/21/2018 Increase City property tax from $0.803433 to $0.843332
8/20/2019 Increase City property tax from $0.843332 to $0.90730
As of July 2021, she also voted to authorize $504,800,000 in certificates of obligation, a debt instrument that does not require voter approval and is supposed to be used only for emergencies.
Salcido’s record is not quite as appalling but it is nothing to brag about. She voted 8/20/2019 to increase our City property tax from $0.843332 to $0.907301. She also voted to authorize $389,000,000 in COs as of July 2021.
Thanks to them and most of their colleagues, El Paso now has more CO debt than the five largest cities in Texas combined!
Both Hernandez and Salcido voted to create TIRZ 13, the greatest giveaway to developers in El Paso History, with 75% property tax forgiveness for a half-century on anything built by Mr. Foster and his Dallas business partner within the 2,313 acres they acquired from the City in the northeast.
The two also voted for innumerable 380 agreements and other Oligarchy candy, and many of those agreements went south. I could go on and on…
THE RODRIGUEZ ENIGMA
Rep. Claudia Lizette Rodriguez did not vote for any tax increases and she voted against nearly every CO that came before her. She also voted against TIRZ 13. So why is she destroying her reputation by co-writing this mendacious column with her two colleagues? Lately, her votes and behavior have defied explanation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
El Pasoans are sick and tired of the BS coming out of City Council. Hernandez and Salcido can put as much mascara, lipstick and eyeliner on this pig as they want but guess what? It is still a pig!
During yesterday’s work session, our City Council voted 7-1 (with Rep. Svarzbein dissenting) to lower the City property tax to 86.24 cents, which is still nearly 2 cents higher then where it was in 2019. While this action is welcome it still has to be reaffirmed by another vote later this month. In fact, it relieves only a portion of the financial pain that our City has inflicted upon the taxpayers of El Paso.