I was hoping that you guys would take a moment to think about your bogus Impact Tax arguments after I posted the link and quote showing the PSB's superb financial health. I was disappointed to see the same four of you still grasping at straws. I'm working on a piece that explains to everyone why you are so desperate to embrace your factual inaccuracies in order to get your way. Right now, I need to address some of your questions and lead you in the right direction.
I don't know why all of you assume that the PSB is the one asking for the Impact Tax to be tripled. They are not. This move is being suggested from within the city's planning department. A department that has made no secret that it is for stack and pack "smart growth." You might have seen them bulldozing the mountain on Mesa Street again - that egregious raping of the mountain was not only fast tracked by the stack and pack planning department - THEY REWROTE THE RULES TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Look at the PSB budget and ask yourself if you've heard of the PSB ever claiming they can't keep up with El Paso rather moderate growth. You won't find any evidence of the PSB claiming that growth was hurting them and that a new tax needed to be levied to keep them afloat. Reading their 2013 financial statement gives one the impression they are almost boasting about how well they are doing.
So, if you're claiming the increased Impact Tax is associated with some kind of need expressed by the PSB - you're wrong. They have stated that they will gladly take the money if the city is willing to vote it in. They have not warned the public that new growth is hurting their ability operate. In fact, their financial statement shows they borrowed a lot of money for maintenance and upgrades, but haven't spend it since they are so far ahead of the game. And that raises some questions about borrowing money you don't intend to spend...
What you have here is a planning department that id ideologically opposed to traditional growth. They can't legally outlaw subdivisions like the ones being built on the east side right now. What they can do is make them too expensive to build. That's where this tax comes in. It's quite literally a sin tax.
Again, I was hoping that you ankle biters would figure this out for yourselves, but you're too interested in protecting your ego to see the facts in front of you. As usual, you guys are standing in the middle of a bunch of trees claiming no forest exists.
The idea that you should pay for what you use and not pay for what you don't use. Hell, I love that idea. I wish all taxes worked that way. I don't use welfare, so I don't want to pay for it. And I don't get to fly those awesome jets the Navy and Air Force have so I'm not paying for them either.
While the argument sounds good as a populist anthem, it makes no real sense in the case of Impact Taxes. The new development will pay taxes for their usage of all that the city has to offer and the developer funds every bit of the pipe that goes into the ground for water and sewer - and they pay an impact tax already. That argument just doesn't hold much weight.
And what about all of this maintenance and stuff the PSB must have $1.47 billion dollars on hand for? Is El Paso getting a new waste water treatment plant every months? What about a new water plant? Nope. In fact, the PSB isn't doing all that much "maintaining" of anything. This type of stuff is designed to maintain itself. It's not like they are digging up water pipe every other day just to look at it.
Do remember that upgrades to the system often come with city funding that they got from the state and federal government. A block grant, for example, may be used to do street and drainage improvements for an area and the PSB will spend zero of its $1.47 billion fortune to make it happen.
Hell, the fire department is charged with running around checking all the fire hydrants to make sure they work. This claim that the PSB needs even more money to complete all of these thousands of task they have is a myth. They simply aren't that busy. And that's fine - that's a good thing. That means the system is working as designed.
The final thing I want to clear up here is this notion that developers should eat the cost of the increased Impact Tax because they're already rich. That's laughable. Working for no profit or less profit leads to not working at all. Sure, a developer could eat the cost, but at what price? At what point to they decide not to build and anymore? What happens when competition leaves the market?
You can argue all you want that businesses should charge you less because in you're opinion it's only "fair," but that isn't going to get you anywhere. And it's really not pertinent to this conversation and it surely doesn't answer for the ramifications that higher Impact Taxes will have on El Paso's future.
The whiney anti-growth people at one time had a shot at buying a new home at a good price. Why are they seeking to deny that option to another generation of El Pasoans? Why should anyone have to eat any cost since YOU didn't have to when your house was built?
Again, the brain drain is not a mystery. It's crap like this that pushes El Paso young talent to sensible communities in other parts of the state and country.
I did see a call for people to show up to the community meeting. Don't waste your time. A local reporter has already canvassed the votes and shared with me that as of last Wednesday the measure passes easily. It's a done deal.
Just remember the most important part is that the PSB made no plea for increased tax revenue. Your government is inventing expenses in order to take from you. Are you okay with that?