How do you solve Detroit’s financial problems?
Unfortunately, emergency management has been the clarion call of local corporate media, the business elite and uninformed citizens. If measures were in place to ensure steady and improve incoming revenue, collect taxes and strengthen small business ventures, there would not be a need for an emergency manager to oversee the city’s finances. We’ve been asked what are the options. Here a just a few:
- The governor and Legislature can work to lower insurance rates in Detroit. They are criminally high.
- Tax or otherwise dis-incentivize suburban and exurban sprawl.
- The mayor and local government should make it painfully expensive to own property that is not being occupied. No more speculators in Detroit. Lease the space to some young entrepreneur, start your own business or get out of real estate.
- Streamline small business permitting and fees in the city of Detroit. It is incredibly difficult to start or own a small business in Detroit — this should be encouraged, not penalized or looked at as another way to suck money out of the people who are committed to Detroit.
- Develop a master plan for the city so programs such as Workforce Development can help train people for the jobs Detroit needs for its future — healthcare, home restoration (not demolition), writing code, etc.
- Go after the banks that disproportionately and viciously created thousands of predatory loans that have lead to the high foreclosure rate and have helped diminish the city’s population.
- Increase revenue sharing and reimburse Detroit for past revenue sharing.
- Collect corporate taxes.
- Reinstate residency requirements for city employees — particularly for police, fire and teachers.
- Overall, we need to lower taxes and create a working public education system that inspires critical thinking and self-love, encourages entrepreneurship, technological development and commitment to community values.
This is only a start.
Emergency manager laws in this state, past and present, have created a situation where Black people will not be able to vote, have local input in their schools or local government, will not have a transparent government, meetings will not be open to the public and one person can dispose of public assets furthering the debt and debilitation of the municipality or school system.