November 9, 2002
More on the TIFs
Much has been said of late about the TIFs effect of dividing our community. But are they? Or are they only dividing the Mayor from the rest of El Paso? Over the course of the last few months, I have had occasion to talk with many different people from all walls of life regarding the TIF issue: business people, lawyers, doctors, teachers, retirees, and so on. And in all of those discussions, one thing has become clear: Invariably, among people who are informed about the facts surrounding the TIF districts, there is agreement that the TIFs are unwarranted. They realize that the TIFs are about the acquisition and control of land, not the BHI or the medical school. Citizens who don't know anything about the TIFs tend not to have an opinion one way or another, and those who are informed about them want them gone. No one outside the Mayor's inner circle has ever spoken to me in favor of the TIFs. No community group, business association or government agency has ever endorsed them. Quite the contrary - all of the other taxing entities have soundly rejected them. Even the BHI board, who, according to Mayor Caballero asked for their creation in the first place, have declined on two separate occasions to endorse them. (An examination of the BHI meeting minutes shows that they never made such a request, but so what? Why should insignificant things like facts get in the way of good PR?) My point is simply that our community is not divided over the TIFs, our city council is. Representatives Cook, Power, Sariñana and Cobos have all made clear that their primary concern is the will of their constituents and not the Mayor's personal agenda. If the rest of the council can summon the courage to follow their example, this issue can be put to rest once and for all.
Ken Schillinger, Chairman Invest in El Paso Coalition
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