Detroit Red Wings (and Tigers) owner Mike Ilitch, A Billionaire (estimated net worth $1.6B) wants a new hockey arena to replace the team's current taxpayer-paid Joe Louis Arena.
On Monday the team issues a PR release detailing plans for a $650 million arena project. Financing is nebulous but supposedly "some private money" will be involved, Ha ha.
Now in case people haven't been paying attention, the State of Michigan has been in some serious financial trouble for some time. There isn't enough money to fund a wide variety of public programs. However there appears to be $650 million lying around to be given away to a deserving billionaire.
Senate Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer opposed the measure as a drain on funding for Detroit's public schools.In the meantime, the GOP Legislature and their stooge governor Snyder are rushing forward with right-to-work bills and measures to privatize the public school system.
The city's DDA has been allowed for nearly two decades to pay down general obligation bonds with about $12.8 million a year that otherwise would have gone to education, she said. Now that those bonds are paid off, the bill would tap that same revenue stream for Ilitch's project instead of finally steering the money back to education.
''This is a direct subsidy by school kids to allow a billionaire to build a hockey arena,'' Whitmer said. ''That's the Republican agenda we all know and love. ... It makes me sick. I hear my colleagues say, 'Oh, this is for Detroit and we're all in favor of Detroit now,' because one billionaire called you.'''