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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.

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.'''

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.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, this is an education of a different sort. nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nailbender, 2thanks, 207wickedgood, BRog

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:05:21 PM PST

  •  Hope you don't mind, fixed your tags (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    207wickedgood, Tinfoil Hat, Vatexia

    Need to separate each key word/phrase with a comma

    Now onto the diary.  A good diary, and I hope that this BS crap being ramrodded by nimrods (repugs) somehow dies off. Seriously..a damn hockey arena?!!

    Now I am a hockey fan, but educating the children in a state that has enough fiscal problems is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than a damn hockey arena!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:44:39 PM PST

    •  thanks for the assist. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      207wickedgood, Mannie
    •  No it isn't. (0+ / 0-)

      Nebulous untargeted money for "education" is not more important to the city of Detroit than continuing the remarkable turnaround downtown has made in the last 10 years, which is beginning to show signs of stemming the tide of young, well educated people leaving Michigan for functional urban centers in other states.

      Developing the area between downtown and midtown is incredibly important, and it's going to cost money given the land squatters that have always plagued the area. It's not all just for a hockey arena.

  •  I firmly believe the sports industrial complex is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    more dangerous than the military industrial complex. At least the military is good at protecting us. The sports complex uses up kids, money, and our education system.

  •  The somewhat amusing thing is that Ilitch... (0+ / 0-)

    ... has been identified as a Dem in the past.

    But make no mistake here, it is the Republican Party which is diving full speed to take Ilitch all the way down their collective throats.

  •  I'm at least a little torn (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Mannie, BRog, umjm13

    On the one hand, Mike Ilitch has done a lot for the city of Detroit and its people, seeing it as his civic duty to make an effort to repay the community that has been so very, very good to him. There's his determination to keep his HQ in Detroit rather than move to the suburbs. There's his central role in so much of the city's redevelopment. There's the considerable support he and his company have provided to the community, particularly its cultural institutions. He has a track record of community stewardship far superior to many who share his tax bracket. And as Michigan pizza magnates go, he's pretty much the love child of Mother Teresa and Santa Claus.

    On the other hand, it's unconscionable to divert money from education to build an arena, or to do most of the countless other things politicians have funded by shortchanging kids' futures. In the economic and educational climate currently prevailing in Michigan, it's morally criminal.

    I can see the value in a big building project in Detroit right now, and replacing the old, never very good Joe isn't a bad choice. It will mean jobs in a city that desperately needs them. It will create a new focus for economic activity and civic pride. Thoughtfully conceived and executed, it could be a real boon to the city and the entire metro area.

    But not with education funds. Not now, not ever. I'm astonished that the city would make that choice. (Well, on second thought, not so much astonished as angry, and very, very sad.) And I'm more than a little disappointed that Ilitch would ask for or accept the funds at that price to the community. I'd really like to be able to keep thinking he's better than that.

    So maybe I'm not that torn after all. I guess I'm just really sad.

    "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

    by pragmaticidealist on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:44:53 PM PST

    •  It's not with education funds. (0+ / 0-)

      That's purely hypothetical nonsense. She's stating that if the Downtown Development Authority didn't exist, that the money would be used for schools instead.  

      Sure it would.

      •  All funding is hypothetical until the check clears (0+ / 0-)

        The money is supposed to change from its former purpose to a new purpose. That new purpose was, according to the information presented, education -- which, from the information attributed to the Senate Democratic leader, was what the money would have been spent on for the past couple decades if it hadn't been redirected. "Would", not "could". So money for education was, and will again be, reallocated.

        Granted, a lot of money that's supposed to go to education winds up shanghaied to other purposes. (Say it with me: "Lottery".) But the point of the story is that funds that should go to education, and have been otherwise directed for some time, are going to be otherwise directed yet again, once more leaving education holding the short stick.

        The fact that the budget's been looted in the past, doesn't excuse continuing to loot it in the future.

        "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

        by pragmaticidealist on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:51:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  ads against the public bridge: '$ for schools...!' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as if the opponents really wanted tax dollars to cover public needs.  God forbid taxpayers should pay for publicly owned projects that would be a public good.  turns out taxpayers can't have schools or bridges because the posh want a new arena. they can change the name. Joe Louis who?

     while they're at it, might as well remove Spirit of Detroit statue and the huge forearm/fist and replace them with a Little Caesar and a puddle of tears.

    sometimes I spend more time reading the comments than the diaries. no offense to diarists: thanks for the launch pad.

    by dunnjen on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 04:03:44 AM PST

  •  Tough luck. (0+ / 0-)

    It's an awesome deal for Detroit, and everyone who cares about the city should be thrilled.

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