Proposition 7 Puts the Cart Before the Horse

Liberals in Austin would have you believe that a plethora of electric cars, expedient light rail, and expansive parks districts are necessities that a city must have to lure new citizens. But in reality, populations move to where jobs are prevalent.

If passed, Proposition 7 would authorize the creation of a Conservation and Reclamation District in El Paso County. This purpose of this District would be to:

“…issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”

According to city and county officials, El Paso strives to become a “world class city” and creating a “world class parks system” is a pillar of this initiative. On the surface this seems like a great idea, but after a little digging this scheme shows its true colors.

First, Proposition 7 calls for the Conservation and Reclamation District to issue bonds, not either the city nor county of El Paso. If the residents of El Paso want a parks district so badly, why don’t the city or county fathers just vote locally to raise their property taxes?

Because that would force those same political leaders to make decisions and trade-offs. It’s easier for the state to create a new way to tax their citizens than for them to do it themselves. With a new taxing district, they can have it all.

Unfortunately this project is masked under the assumption that residents will not have their property taxes raised by the county or city, but of course the money has to come from somewhere. Enter the Conservation and Reclamation District Board. It will issue these bonds, and thus be held responsible for raising residents’ property taxes. This gives existing officials the ability to say, “Why are you upset at us? We didn’t raise your taxes. They did!”

Creating a new level of government so politicians can tip-toe around who is responsible for taxes being raised is no way to run government.

Second, Proposition 7 further perpetuates the idea that large scale local government spending is what makes a city prosperous. What liberals fail to realize time and again is that increased spending does not necessarily equate to economic success, just ask President Obama. Or don’t.

The property tax system is convoluted with a myriad of innate problems, and projects such as this only make matters worse. State and local governments should be moving away from the property tax system, not looking to expand dependence on it. Besides, community leaders in El Paso should look to create stability in the current economic climate, not create an additional burden to taxpayers who already have one of the lowest per capita income levels, and highest tax rates, in our state.

While expanding access to public parks is an understandable goal, the process this proposition endorses is the wrong way to do it.

Conservatives know that if the focus is on low taxes, quality education, and public safety, people and business alike will flock to a city. Human capital truly is vital to the success of any community but is cultivated by economic and political freedom not by over taxation and unnecessary park districts. Simply put, Proposition 7 puts the cart before the horse.

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