Everybody’s getting rich in Detroit except for Detroiters

February 23, 2023

Everybody’s getting rich in Detroit except for Detroiters

Don’t believe the fake news: Detroit is not broke! Its budget is one of the largest in the U.S. at $2.6 billion and ranks 16th in the nation among large cities when it comes to public spending per capita[1].

And the city’s bank account is growing—most of which is due to new online casino activity. Last year there was a $76 million roll over and this year there will be a whopping $230 million surplus rolling over to the general fund.

While Detroit’s cash flow is seemingly in a good position, Detroiters have not felt the benefits of such growth. For example, Detroit is among the worst cities for affordable housing, yet we spend less on affordable housing than similar cities like Cleveland[2].

So where is the money going? Simple: It’s going into the pockets of white billionaires.

The city has given Dan Gilbert, the Ilitches, and Stephen Ross, the richest white men in Michigan, BILLIONS of tax dollar over the last 10 years while underfunding schools, libraries, and black neighborhoods north of the boulevard.

Every year the administration spends hundreds of millions of dollars in demolition to clear land for rich developers, improve the infrastructure in affluent areas like Midtown and Downtown, and expand police surveillance. This helps the developers and their suburban patrons, not the average Detroiter.

This year the administration is proposing the same ole nonsense. The mayor wants to spend the $230 million surplus on billionaire benefits—like demolition and Downtown investment—and not majority Black Detroit benefits—like affordable housing and libraries.

Let the administration and City Council know how you feel about this at the Mayor’s Budget Proposal to City Council on March 3rd at 11am. The mayor will be presenting his spending plan for the next year.

The Budget Justice Coalition is demanding that no more money be spent on demolition and Downtown economic development. Instead, more investments should go to affordable housing (in the form of the Housing Trust Fund), transit services, libraries, parks, and recreation.

Attend the City Council Meeting on March 3rd at 11am to tell our elected officials what you want to see in the budget.

[1] https://ballotpedia.org/Analysis_of_spending_in_America%27s_largest_cities

[2] https://www.crainsdetroit.com/crains-forum/detroit-among-worst-cities-affordable-housing-cost-relief