Elisa S. Perez of El Paso Matters published an extraordinary report titled “City representatives up for reelection switch votes on budget, tax rate.” In it she analyzes why City Reps. Isabel Salcido of District 5 and Claudia Lizette Rodriguez of District 6 surprised their colleagues last Tuesday by voting against the proposed City budget.
The answer is obvious. They are both up for reelection and wish to appear fiscally responsible by insisting that our new City property tax rate should be lower: 82.3 cents rather than 86.2 cents.
So the vote on Tuesday was 6-2, with Salcido and Rodriguez dissenting, to decrease the tax rate to 86.2 cents. This is not enough to offset the 13.3% increase in property valuations, meaning that El Pasoans are facing an increase in their property tax of about $83 for the average El Paso home ($167,000). A no-new revenue rate of 82.3 cents would have prevented a tax increase.
As Perez clearly shows, Reps. Salcido and Rodriguez had every opportunity to advocate for an 82.3-cent no-new revenue City tax rate but did not do so until minutes before Tuesday’s vote.
Politics at its worst.