Uber liberal columnist Laura Berman (at Detroit’s ‘more’ conservative paper) opines the reason Detroit government can’t pay its bills stem from the fact they don’t collect all the taxes the city is due.
But the city’s bigger customers likely enjoy more flexible arrangements. Right now, Detroit journalists are specifically documenting gigantic black holes in the city’s revenue collection “system,” which may have enabled various Ilitch organization entities to decline the privilege of paying the city various fees and taxes.
“The city’s biggest customers?” As if the city government of Detroit is providing some sort of valuable service. Bizarre…
People are leaving the city in droves and its economy is upside down. When six of the top ten employers in the city are local,state and federal agencies that provide zero economic growth, this is a recipe for disaster and no amount of enhanced tax collection is going to fix the problem.
Rather than look at the corrupt and business unfriendly city government our supposed opinion leader Laura Berman advocates going after the few businessmen who have stuck it out and contiue to invest in Detroit. People like the Ilitch family. Ms. Berman continues.
In other words, flinging your city’s tax bill on the altruistic impulses of a wealthy businessman has limited success: People don’t get rich by voluntarily paying up on obscure contract provisions the other side overlooked because of memory loss, personnel changes or a lack of paper in the printer.
No, Laura, people become rich by providing a product or service that a larger number of consumers want at a price they are to pay. Not by ducking contracts. Of course this idea doesn’t fit Laura’s worldview where businessmen are crooks and politicians are altruistic public servants.
Johnson Akinwusi who owned J.O.A. Construction took the stand to detail more pay to pay allegations. He closed the company in 2007 after suffering a stroke.
Akinwusi testified that he made a $10,000 contribution to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund after the ex-mayor’s former chief of staff and lover, Christine Beatty asked him to give to the controversial non-profit. He also says he paid on a nearly $5,000 on a suit Kilpatrick had on layaway at a clothing store where both men shopped.
Akinwusi says the store owner suggested he pay the mayor’s tab and write a letter to Kilpatrick detailing work his company had performed. Akinwusi had complained about work drying up under the new Kilpatrick administration.
Shortly after that, Akinwusi testified that he received a bid package in the mail for the Heilmann Recreation Center. He was directed to partner with Xcel Construction owned by Bobby Ferguson.
Bobby Ferguson is a friend and associate of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
If it wasn’t so sad that there are way too many people who think like Ms. Berman, the vapidness of her closing comment would be kind of funny.
Wouldn’t future revenue collection be a terrific project for a SWAT team of business school graduates? Shouldn’t there be a way to generate excitement and reward for fresh, highly educated, eager-to-prove-themselves young tax consultants who might cut their sharp teeth on Detroit’s debtor delinquents?
There are bold and innovative ways to raise funds. But relying on the kindness of millionaires is not one of them.
Recent Business school graduates would’t have the first clue on what to do with problem such as this. It usually takes nearly a year on the job for a recent graduate to become somewhat productive (without a lot of supervision) at a job. It usually takes five years on the job to develop the specialized skills to really run with a complex project on their own.
Wouldn’t it be much better for the city to have an abundance of private sector jobs at thriving businesses where those eager young business school graduates could use their talents and skills to contribute to a growing economy rather than be a tax collection SWAT team?