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Relocating to El Paso

The City of El Paso, Texas, situated on the border with Mexico, features a scenic landscape and friendly population highly regarded for its unique cultural blend. Founded over four centuries ago as an outpost for traders and missionaries in the west, El Paso’s dynamic growth has been credited to the development of an integrated international trade region with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, long before free trade zones and global markets flourished. According to Census 2000, El Paso is currently the fifth largest city in the State of Texas and the twenty-third largest city in the United States. Ciudad Juarez, El Paso’s sister city across the border, is the largest city in the State of Chihuahua and the fifth largest city in all of Mexico.

El Paso is home to a young population whose labor force is bilingual, diverse, and ready for our expanding economy. Coupled with a strong work ethic and an excellent educational system, the rapidly growing El Paso labor force continues to attract a variety of industries to the region. The diversity of El Paso's labor force is evident in its employment distribution, with 22% of employment in the government sector, 13% in retail trade and 10% in professional and business services.

As economic trends change the way the world does business, senior executives are faced with the daunting task of identifying those communities prepared to foster the greatest prosperity. Likewise, the City of El Paso has been working diligently to ensure its own success in the new economy.

Many Fortune 500 Companies, including Eureka, Leviton, Hoover, Boeing, and Delphi, have discovered the myriad of resources the El Paso area has to offer. A highly productive labor force, strategic location, intelligent infrastructure, and unique quality of life all combine to make El Paso a remarkably attractive site for expansion or relocation.

Uniquely situated on the border of two nations and three states, El Paso's location also presents a wide array of opportunities. El Paso and its sister city, Ciudad Juarez, (located in the Mexican state of Chihuahua) comprise the largest metropolitan area on the border between the United States and Mexico; in fact, the downtown areas of these two cities are within walking distance of each other. El Paso's proximity to Mexico furnishes an excellent opportunity for businesses to capitalize on NAFTA, the maquiladora industry, and other prospects in Central and South America, especially when used in conjunction with El Paso's Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #68. Encompassing over 3000 acres in 21 non-contiguous sites, FTZ #68 is the 5th largest in volume in the country and the largest on the U.S. Mexico border.

Moreover, El Paso's central location yields a strategic proximity to markets across North America, with an interstate highway system providing both east/west and north/south access, rail facilities serving every North American market, and the newly renovated and expanded El Paso International Airport.

El Paso has the transportation infrastructure that will allow access to markets from coast to coast. Furthermore, the telecommunications network in El Paso offers state-of-the-art voice and data transmission facilities to almost one-quarter of a million residential and business customers in the area, ensuring that companies located in El Paso can reach clients and colleagues worldwide.

El Paso is the only city in Texas and one of only two cities west of the Mississippi River to receive a Round II Federal Urban Empowerment Zone designation. The Empowerment Zone program carries special tax incentives and bond provisions which encourage private investment, while providing additional funding for workforce development. Similarly, Texas State Enterprise Zones allow for refunds on various sales and use taxes paid by businesses. In addition to these programs, the City of El Paso offers an array of comprehensive business incentives, including tax abatement, sales and use tax exemptions, and Industrial Revenue Bonds.

For El Pasoans, quality of life encompasses not only the tangible, such as an affordable cost of living, but also a culture shaped by 400 years of history and influenced by several diverse groups. From the Mission Trail to opera and rodeo, visitors and those who call the city home will tell you that there's no place quite like El Paso.

Christened El Paso del Norte (the Pass of the North) by Don Juan de Onate in 1598, the fertile valley and surrounding mountains were the first all-weather path through the Rockies.

The sun shines on El Paso 302 days per year or 83 percent of the daylight hours. Low humidity and moderate rainfall combine to create a year-round climate exclusive to the region.
Here are the quick facts...
Date Incorporated     1873
Mayor     Oscar Leeser
Altitude     

4,000 ft. ASL
Time Zone     Mountain
Mean high temperature     76.8 Degrees F.
Mean low temperature     50.6 Degrees F.
Mean precipitation     8.65 inches
Mean # of days clear skies     202 per year

Mean # of days partly cloudy
    108 per year
Highest Mountain peak     7,200 ft.
Land area (City)     250.9 sq. mi.
Land Area (County)     1058 sq. mi.
Location     Southwest Texas adjoining New Mexico and Mexico
County     El Paso County
Estimated Population April 1, 2010
City of El Paso, Texas     649,138
Remainder of El Paso County     115,960
Total for County of El Paso**     679,622
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico*     1,217,818
Total Metro     1,897,440

For more information about the Sun City or to request an El Paso newcomers guide, please call your El Paso Visitor's Center at (915) 534-0600
or visit their website: http://visitelpaso.com/

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HC to DC

Hit the Hill with the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce during its annual marketing trip to Washington D.C., Every spring, the Chamber converges on our nation’s Capital to advocate for the El Paso small, minority and women-owned business community and market its services in conjunction with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Conference. We invite you to join us for a week of high energy and action driven meetings with key federal agencies as we continue to market the many services our small business community provide.

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We will also meet with Congressional and Senatorial leaders to discuss issues relating to our community and evaluate their impact on El Paso small businesses. THE EPHCC encourages its members to travel with us to our nation’s Capital and connect with key decision makers to bring home more opportunities to El Paso and obtain direct knowledge of issues that funnel from Washington. Past issues have included healthcare, overtime expansion, and federal contracting goals. 

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Issues

 

Access to Capital

One of the major challenges facing small businesses today is their ability to access to credit and capital. The ability for small businesses to be able to access credit and capital throughout their lifetime is vital for the ensured success of their business and the growth of our national economy. To ensure that businesses have greater access to credit and capital, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recommends the following:

  • Increase the authorization level for SBA loans
  • Increase the Credit Union Cap
  • Ensure businesses have access to funds through alternative means such as crowdfunding.

Tax Reform for Small Businesses:

Burdensome tax is continually one of their chief complaints of small businesses. High tax rates and an overly complex tax code are two of the worst problems currently plaguing businesses. Seventy five percent of small businesses are organized as pass through entities, meaning that they pay taxes on their income at the individual rather than the corporate tax rate. This leads to reduced cash flow and limits investment. The complexity of the tax code further drains small businesses of their financial resources and valuable time. The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce urges Congress to pursue comprehensive tax reform and consider the following changes:

  • Lower the individual tax rate
  • Eliminate the Estate Tax
  • Eliminate the Alternative Minimum tax
  • Simplify the tax code
  • Better define employees vs independent contractors

Healthcare Reform:

One of the largest costs small business face is the rising cost of healthcare. For the past 20 years, healthcare costs have been steadily rising, straining small businesses and making it more difficult for these businesses to offer health insurance to their employees. From 2013 to 2014 alone, 62% of small businesses experienced premium increases. This problem will likely only be exacerbated by the burdensome rules and regulations created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. To ease the burden on small businesses, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce suggests Congress work to:

  • Repeal the employer mandate
  • Repeal the health insurance tax
  • Allow businesses to provide their employees with more options

Contracting Issues:

Our members urge Congress and the Administration to improve the federal marketplace by improving transparency and ensuring small businesses are treated fairly and equitably Small businesses deserve equal opportunities to participate in the federal marketplace

Small businesses infuse the federal procurement system with much-needed competition and provide high-quality goods and services to federal-contracting agencies—a recognition reflected in the objectives of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997, which called for 23 percent of prime, federal contracts to be awarded to small firms.

For the second year in a row, the 23% was met for FY 2015. in FY 2014, the federal government actually surpassed the 23 % goal, awarding 24.99 % of all federal contracts, or $91.7 billion in contracts to small businesses. The members of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce applaud all of the federal agencies for their dedication in ensuring that these goals are met and that our small businesses are allowed the chance to succeed. The EPHCC’s members support increasing the federal government’s federal-contracting goal. Additionally, our members urge Congress and the administration to pursue the following policies:

  • Terminate the practice of contract bundling
  • Ensure businesses are paid in a timely manner
  • Improve oversight for OMB
  • Streamline the 8(a) certification process

Regulatory Reform:

In a ranking of top problems for small businesses, regulatory issues rank second. With ten new regulations being finalized every day, the burden regulations place on businesses is constantly growing; straining businesses limited resources and taking up more and more of their valuable time. The El Paso Hispanic Chamber suggests that Congress take the following steps to help ease the burden of regulations for small businesses:

  • Clarify the indirect costs of regulation
  • Increase Business Input
  • Reduce Penalties and Fines
  • Provide More Compliance Assistance Resources
  • National Regulatory Budget

Overtime Expansion:

The chamber’s members understand the need for employees to be fairly and equitably compensated for their efforts. However, the needs and demands of the labor force must be balanced with the needs and constraints of the business community. On the surface, the proposed changes to these regulations appear to greatly benefit American workers. However, when the effects these changes have on businesses are examined, it is clear that both businesses and workers will suffer. When small businesses suffer, American workers suffer. The financial burden and strain these changes will place on businesses will force business owners to demote and lay off employees and cut hours to keep their businesses operational. Like the employees whose hours will be cut or who will no longer have a paycheck, business owners have families to support. Burdensome regulations, such as those proposed, limit the ability of these community members to be profitable and provide for their families. The proposed increase is too drastic and will, in the end, hurt American workers, businesses, and the economy more than it will help.

Based on the opinions of our members, the Chamber recommends adjusting the salary threshold according to the median income and cost of living of specific regions rather than utilizing one income threshold for the entire country. If, for whatever reason, this is not a feasible option, the chamber recommends increasing the threshold to $30,000. Any further increases to the threshold should be made incrementally over time. These proposals balance the needs of the labor force with the constraints facing many small businesses. This allows both groups to flourish and help the economy grow.

In addition, the Chamber urges Congress to support S. 2707 and H.R. 4773, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, which would nullify the proposed rule. The passage of this legislation would allow the Department of Labor more time to investigate the true cost of these proposed rules to both businesses and employees.

Immigration Reform:

Small businesses are currently facing a shortage of skilled workers making them particularly susceptible to the impacts of immigration reform. While the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce understands the complexity of this issue, the following suggestions will help the US compete in the global market and encourage economic growth.

  • E-Verify Requirements: Mandatory E- Verify requirements should have reasonable penalties, contain a swift error correction mechanism, and compensate both individuals and businesses for any losses incurred due to database errors.
  • Changes to Visa Programs: Congress should consider instituting a new visa category for highly skilled workers, increasing the number of visas available for foreign born students graduating with an advanced STEM degree, and eliminating the per country numerical cap on employment based visas.
  • Reform the H-2B and H-2A Visa Programs: Congress should work towards reforming the H-2B visa program by making the 3 year return worker exemption permanent, adjusting the cap on the number of these visas issued utilizing a market based regulator, and working to streamline the process. In addition, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to modernize, reduce red tape, and improve the efficiency of the H-2A visa program.

 

An important place to voice your concerns regarding these issues or any additional ones is through us! Contact our Advocacy Director to share your thoughts. Give us a call at 915.566.4066 or contact Michelle Luevano directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Austin Fly-In Days

Join the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce during its bi annual marketing trip to Austin, Texas. During every legislative session, the Chamber will converge on our state’s Capitol to advocate for the El Paso small, minority, veteran, and women-owned business community and market its services. We invite you to join us for a week of high energy and action driven meetings with key state agencies as we continue to market the many services our small business community provides. 

We usually visit Austin for a week on high energy and action driven meetings with key state agencies as we continue to market the many services our small business community provide. We will also meet with Congressional and Senatorial leaders to discuss issues relating to our community and evaluate their impact on El Paso small businesses.. The EPHCC encourages its members to travel with us to our states Capital and connect with key decision makers to bring home more opportunities to El Paso and obtain direct knowledge of issues that funnel from Austin. Past issues include, the franchise tax, transportation funding, and labor issues. This trip allows us to work to help the El Paso delegation shape legislation that will help our local businesses and ensure that Texas remains the number one place to do business.

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