Monday, June 26, 2017

Detroit Council Dunks on Taxpayers, Will Use School Funds for Basketball Arena - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Detroit Council Dunks on Taxpayers, Will Use School Funds for Basketball Arena - Hit & Run : Reason.com:

Detroit Council Dunks on Taxpayers, Will Use School Funds for Basketball Arena - Hit & Run

Julian H. Gonzalez/KRT/Newscom

Taxpayer-funded bonds sold to raise revenue for parks and schools in cash-strapped Detroit will instead be used to lure its professional basketball team back into the city.
The Detroit Pistons have played out in the suburbs (first in Pontiac, now in Auburn Hills) since 1977, but will relocate to a new downtown arena thanks to $34 million in incentives approved by the Detroit City Council.
Taxpayers are already on the hook for more than $300 million of the $900 million construction cost for new Little Caesars Arena, built to host the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. The additional spending will make the arena suitable for basketball and help pay for new practice facility and front office for the Pistons.
Michigan Radio reported this week that "some Detroiters are unhappy with the deal because the bonds are taxpayer funded with money originally intended for schools and parks."
As well they should be. In a city still recovering from bankruptcy, local officials might have found better ways to use $34 million. It's a fair question whether government should be spending money on parks and schools, but it's certainly a more core function than throwing cash at billionaire team owners. Tom Gores, who owns the Pistons, is worth an estimated $3.3 billion.

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