Monday, August 24, 2009

Dome of Deceit

The Gazette has an update on the plan to force taxpayers to subsidize the businesses of local bigshots with a government-run arena.

Kalamazoo arena could revitalize 'desolate' downtown area, but voters must approve new taxes to make proposal a reality
How the arena would be paid for: taxes and bonds

The commenters on the first article are scathing. They overwhelmingly oppose this plan. Moreover, they clearly understand that WMU Board of Trustees Chairman Ken Miller is promoting his own personal interest, not the public good.

A couple interesting tidbits.

"I don't believe it's going to be a prohibitive issue to too many people," Kenneth Miller, chairman of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees and member of Suite Idea, said of the possible taxes.
Miller may be seriously misreading public sentiment. In a bad economy, with high unemployment, it doesn't seem likely that voters will go for this. The vote has been put off until May 2010, instead of November 2009, which would have seen disproportionate numbers of tax-friendly Kalamazoo residents at the polls. This plan doesn't have an obvious ideological constituency, either.

In 2008, State Rep. Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo, put into motion a way to fund the proposed arena in downtown Kalamazoo.

Jones fast-tracked an amendment to a 1991 state law, Public Act 180, making Kalamazoo County eligible to use hotel, rental car, bar and restaurant surcharges to finance construction of a public arena.
Also noteworthy is state Rep. Robert Jones' involvement, smuggling a bill through Lansing making this whole fiasco possible. Jones may pose as a champion of the little guy, but he was all too eager to champion corporate welfare for Kalamazoo's most influential citizens.

Arena of Conflict
Forum of Discontent

1 comment:

Matt said...

"obvious ideological constituency." = Developers, Managing Firms, Builders, Contractors, etc.