Yesterday Mayor Margo gave a talk at a location on Trowbridge Dr. at the invitation of Rep. Alexsandra Annello of District 2. His remarks were captured on video by Fainot Pierre and shared on Facebook. The Mayor said several things that were either wrong or dishonest, and I want to correct the record here:
1. “I am the Mayor of public safety, potholes and parks.”
No, I would describe Mr. Margo as the Mayor of tax hikes, deficit spending, boondoggles, and the interests of the big developers and their bankers.
2. The Mayor emphasized that under his watch, the City portion of our property tax increased only 4 cents since last year, to $0.91 per $100 of valuation.
The Mayor conveniently omitted that when he assumed office on June 10, 2017, our City property tax stood at $0.76 per $100 of valuation and that on his watch it increased to a total of $0.15 cents (20%). Moreover, the City is set to increase our property tax by at least 10 cents more between now and 2026. This is in spite of Mr. Margo’s campaign promise to “hold the line on taxes.” The Mayor also emphasized that the City is one of five taxing entities that comprise our property tax but did not mention that the City portion of our tax has skyrocketed in recent years while the other tax rates are either flat or have increased only modestly.
3. The Mayor stated that wages account for 74% of the City budget,
The current figure for City wages and benefits is actually $460,659,025, which is 44% of the City budget, at least according to pages 116-117 of the FY 2020 City Budget Book.
4. The Mayor indicated that El Paso has one of the highest rates of population growth.
Actually, the population of El Paso has increased by less than 5% since 2010 and in 2018 (the most recent year for which census data is available) it actually declined by 269 people!
5. The Mayor praised TIRZs as an effective vehicle for lowering our tax burden and relieving budgetary pressure.
The Mayor repeatedly referred to TIRZs as “Tax Increment Refinancing Zones” when in fact they are “Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones.” He tried to convince his audience that these beasts will lower our tax burden over time when what they really do is deprive the City of future property tax revenue such that taxpayers have to make up the shortfall. It is an egregious form of corporate welfare that has been repeatedly embraced by Jessica Herrera and the Mayor.
Happy Easter and Passover to all!