Week 5 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5


I read this article, which calculates how much the creation of one new job has cost taxpayers (in tax subsidies) for several of the new developments in Detroit. I knew that the number would be high, but it was shocking to see just how high the numbers were, especially with Ford train station renovation that didn’t guarantee any new jobs. Clearly, a lot of people know that the incentive of jobs is not high enough to justify these huge tax breaks for corporations. Saying that jobs will be created doesn’t specify if they will be well paying or upwardly mobile jobs. And for the city itself, it doesn’t make sense economically. The tax revenue that the city will generate from these jobs is negligible in the long run (especially considering that the jobs do not have to go to people who live in the city). But even considering that, it’s just not fair that taxpayers are having to subsidize these huge developments when they will see little return themselves. It seems like the city continuously makes the same decisions to grant huge subsidies to corporations and this is unlikely to end soon, which is frustrating.

In terms of new development projects, I’ve noticed that people familiar with the city and people unfamiliar with the city have a different viewpoint. Many of the people who are unfamiliar with the city view these development projects as a net positive, while many of the people familiar with the city seem annoyed that these projects are continuing to happen. Clearly, public officials are aware of this public sentiment, so it’s sad that they are continuing to ignore it (and historical cues that these kinds of projects haven’t worked in the past) in favor of corporations.

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