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  1. #1
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    Default Detroit continues to die

    Detroit continues to sidestep BIG issues:

    - crushing taxes and regulations,

    - poor municipal services

    - failing public school system

    The city had the second-highest home and industrial property taxes
    in the nation while commercial property was taxed the highest
    of the nation’s 50 largest cities.

    This is combined with a business and regulatory environment
    that is the worst in Michigan (and perhaps the nation).
    The city requires occupational licenses for dozens of jobs
    that almost no other city requires, like auctioneers, landscapers, batting cage operators, etc. Business licenses are even more obscene,
    with fees that were way above and beyond most cities –
    for things like a $400 “awning tax” and $1,800 valet license.
    It was four-and-a-half times more expensive to start a food business
    in Detroit than New York City.





    Last edited by O3H; August-31-18 at 03:00 PM.

  2. #2

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    O3H, the problems are still massive, to be sure. My question to you is do you think the environment is improving or deteriorating?

    Duggan seems to be to be chipping away at the accumulated stupidity of our city government. Do you feel that?

    And the most important question is whether the population sees the improvements. Since the 70s, competence in government was secondary to a desire for African-American advancement by policy. That seems to have moderated, and good governance seems to matter. But as golden geese are slaughtered, further reform gets harder. Will Detroit get enough reform done before the public patience fails?

  3. #3

    Default

    Did a city councilman piss in your coffee this morning or something? Obviously thereís still huge problems occurring. No ones oblivious to that fact. Things donít change immediately.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NSortzi View Post
    Did a city councilman piss in your coffee this morning or something? Obviously thereís still huge problems occurring. No ones oblivious to that fact. Things donít change immediately.
    Made my day!

  5. #5
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    Default

    Will we have to wait for a entire generation to die off first ?
    New kids that don't remember the Coleman Young era ?

    Personally I could give a shit about the sports teams and the casinos.
    Just not my "thing", as I'm sure a certain % represents in all metropolis.
    Fancy Detroit made watches and bikes don't cut the mustard either.
    Restaurants come and go like the phases of the moon, tough industry for sure.

    Just tired of the incessant hype machine with little substance behind it.
    I go downtown from time to time for various events, venues, etc.
    There are some redeeming items I actually like and enjoy - just not many

    You have to pop the balloon to see what is inside, with all the hot air.
    Last edited by O3H; August-31-18 at 04:18 PM.

  6. #6

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    Complaining is easy. Can you cite specific, realistic examples of what should be done differently?

    I don't think it's fair to write off the obvious progress that has been made (despite the fact that there's still a lot of work to do).

    Sure, there's hype, but I have to say there's a heck of a lot more investment and positive momentum than I've ever seen.

  7. #7

    Default

    You mean Detroit continues to live.

  8. #8

    Default

    "Just tired of the incessant hype machine with little substance behind it."

    So, you're saying Detroit is not experiencing any sort of comeback at all, that all of these projects and improvements are made up by somebody to appease a group of people?

    1. The greater downtown area is experiencing the most growth it has experienced since the '70s, with residential buildings having waiting lists, companies moving in from the suburbs instead of the previous trend going back well over 50 years of businesses leaving the city for the suburbs, and a very low crime rate in the central area.
    2. Neighborhoods that have experienced continuous population and business loss for decades are experiencing stabilization, and in some cases, revitalization.
    3. Stable neighborhoods like Indian Village are experiencing new construction for the first time in decades, and these new buildings are actually occupied.
    4. Smaller renovations that previously would have made the news 10+ years ago are quietly beginning construction like any other city.
    5. Detroit's city government seems mostly competent following years of all around incompetence
    6. The city's violent crime rate, a major problem since the '60s, is lowering, while we had the lowest homicide rate in decades in 2017: https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/detroit-auto-show/2018/01/04/detroit-violent-crime/1004061001/
    7. Detroit's population loss continues to slow down: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/ne...ows/634577002/
    8. Detroit Public Schools enrollment was up for the first time in 15 years in 2017, and continued to grow with nearly 52,000 students enrolled in 2018: https://www.freep.com/story/news/201...wth/801988001/
    9. Detroit Parks and Recreation Department is actively improving parks around the city and has plans for many more to begin reconstruction in the future
    10. Attendance and improvements at Belle Isle are on the upswing: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/ne...sle/101466812/
    11. Mayor Duggan recently sued the state over high auto insurance rates, in an effort to lower them for Detroiters: https://www.freep.com/story/money/20...an/1071905002/

    If you'd like more actual proof that Detroit has begun a slow transition to a more positive place to live and work, I have plenty more to offer. As I've already stated, things don't change overnight. Its a very gradual transition.

    And if you don't like how things are here, no ones forcing you to stay here...assuming you are a local resident. Complaining about it on an online forum isn't going to change much, anyway.

  9. #9

    Default

    Curmudgeonly baby boomers (not all) refuse to the see the good in Detroit's rebound, despite the evidence in front of their eyes. They're still vindictive from the Coleman Young years. They think "casinos" and "restaurants" are part of a feeble comeback, but refuse to acknowledge the thousands of new jobs, improved city services, and boom of development that is part of an actual and strong comeback -- mainly because they don't live downtown, and don't see those changes every day. They complain about "over-regulation" and "high taxes," but refuse to acknowledge those are actually just par for the course for big cities. Ever want to do business in Los Angeles or New York City or Chicago--or even Cincinatti or Portland or Austin? All those cities require business licenses for anything skilled trade or above. You may call it over-regulation, but I'm not risking my hygiene and health going to an unlicensed barber, for instance. Shrug, I guess not everyone can see the forest through the trees.

  10. #10
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    Default

    No one addressed the Elephant in the Room

    https://taxfoundation.org/publicatio...climate-index/


    The city ""had"" the second-highest home and industrial property taxes
    in the nation; while commercial property was taxed the highest
    of the nation’s 50 largest cities.

    But I'm sure everyone gets a Tax Break, for 20 years or more.....right ?
    Oh snap, that's only for Gilbert, Ilitch, Amazon, Whole Foods, etc....


    1. Taxes matter to business. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, the transparency of the tax system, and the long-term health of a state’s economy.
    2. Most importantly, taxes diminish profits. If taxes take a larger portion of profits, that cost is passed along.
    3. Thus, a state with lower tax costs will be more attractive to business investment and more likely to experience economic growth.


    2018 USA State Business Tax Climate Index Rankings

    _____Michigan________
    12th - in overall rankings nationwide
    8th - in corporate tax rank
    14th - for individual income tax rank
    11th - for sales tax rank
    48th - for the unemployment tax rank ******
    21st - in property tax rank (basically middle of the pack)

    Detroit runs on taxes ......or are all the philanthropists propping up the city

    Did everyone forget this story in the FreePress : ?
    https://www.freep.com/story/money/bu...ate/520186002/

    THINK about the ordinary guy/girl who has ""some money"" and wants to give a business a go in the city. What are they up against, and is it really ""the-wonderful-place"" to pull the trigger ? Move downtown live a few miles away from your business ??
    Oakland/Macomb range all the way up to an hours drive north of Detroit
    https://www.maptechnica.com/county-map/Macomb/MI/26099
    Last edited by O3H; September-01-18 at 02:57 PM.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by O3H View Post
    No one addressed the Elephant in the Room

    https://taxfoundation.org/publicatio...climate-index/


    The city ""had"" the second-highest home and industrial property taxes
    in the nation; while commercial property was taxed the highest
    of the nationís 50 largest cities.

    But I'm sure everyone gets a Tax Break, for 20 years or more.....right ?
    Oh snap, that's only for Gilbert, Ilitch, Amazon, Whole Foods, etc....


    1. Taxes matter to business. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, the transparency of the tax system, and the long-term health of a stateís economy.
    2. Most importantly, taxes diminish profits. If taxes take a larger portion of profits, that cost is passed along.
    3. Thus, a state with lower tax costs will be more attractive to business investment and more likely to experience economic growth.


    2018 USA State Business Tax Climate Index Rankings

    _____Michigan________
    12th - in overall rankings nationwide
    8th - in corporate tax rank
    14th - for individual income tax rank
    11th - for sales tax rank
    48th - for the unemployment tax rank ******
    21st - in property tax rank (basically middle of the pack)

    Detroit runs on taxes ......or are all the philanthropists propping up the city

    Did everyone forget this story in the FreePress : ?
    https://www.freep.com/story/money/bu...ate/520186002/

    THINK about the ordinary guy/girl who has ""some money"" and wants to give a business a go in the city. What are they up against, and is it really ""the-wonderful-place"" to pull the trigger ? Move downtown live a few miles away from your business ??
    Oakland/Macomb range all the way up to an hours drive north of Detroit
    https://www.maptechnica.com/county-map/Macomb/MI/26099
    I think you overstate the importance of taxes in general, but whether you do or not, none of this is new, and Detroit has been improving quite a bit despite the tax issue, so the "dying" thing just seems wrong--you are pointing out a problem that is real, but seems very clearly not to be killing the city. Also, abatements are much more widespread than you indicate--there are NEZ abatements all over the place.

    Now, if you want to say something like "Detroit's very high property tax rates are likely to slow the rise in Detroit real estate values, and already make it less attractive for people and businesses to move into the city without tax abatements, which are temporary and will eventually give people serious problems when they expire.", you aren't going to get any disagreement from me. Also there are a lot of properties with assessments are frozen under Headlee whose taxes are going to go up a whole lot when they get sold, as Detroit is not actually dying and property values in many parts of the city have risen quite a lot. But problems and death are rather different things.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by O3H View Post
    No one addressed the Elephant in the Room

    https://taxfoundation.org/publicatio...climate-index/


    The city ""had"" the second-highest home and industrial property taxes
    in the nation; while commercial property was taxed the highest
    of the nationís 50 largest cities.

    But I'm sure everyone gets a Tax Break, for 20 years or more.....right ?
    Oh snap, that's only for Gilbert, Ilitch, Amazon, Whole Foods, etc....


    1. Taxes matter to business. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, the transparency of the tax system, and the long-term health of a stateís economy.
    2. Most importantly, taxes diminish profits. If taxes take a larger portion of profits, that cost is passed along.
    3. Thus, a state with lower tax costs will be more attractive to business investment and more likely to experience economic growth.


    2018 USA State Business Tax Climate Index Rankings

    _____Michigan________
    12th - in overall rankings nationwide
    8th - in corporate tax rank
    14th - for individual income tax rank
    11th - for sales tax rank
    48th - for the unemployment tax rank ******
    21st - in property tax rank (basically middle of the pack)

    Detroit runs on taxes ......or are all the philanthropists propping up the city

    Did everyone forget this story in the FreePress : ?
    https://www.freep.com/story/money/bu...ate/520186002/

    THINK about the ordinary guy/girl who has ""some money"" and wants to give a business a go in the city. What are they up against, and is it really ""the-wonderful-place"" to pull the trigger ? Move downtown live a few miles away from your business ??
    Oakland/Macomb range all the way up to an hours drive north of Detroit
    https://www.maptechnica.com/county-map/Macomb/MI/26099

    A few things here.

    First, an overall ranking of #12 is really quite good (1st being best). That means better than 38 other states.

    I really don't get any complaint about any stat at the link you cited, other than the employment tax.

    However, in the absence of deficit financing, the state's only way to cut that tax is to raise other taxes, with the goal of keeping the overall rank similar.

    There's an argument for that; but there will be 'losers' in any shift who may be less than thrilled.

    Michigan has far too many things it should be investing in to finance a reduction of this tax on the back of spending cuts.

    ***

    Second observation.

    Take a look at those least favourably ranked states....

    California, New York, Vermont........hmmm, see anything there? Places people flock to, with great economies, and high quality of life, in part, because that is supported by a high-tax regime, which clearly is not stifling their economy.

    Across the border, Toronto is red-hot economically, while our property taxes are lower, our corporate taxes about the same, we have higher sales taxes, sin taxes and other assorted fees at the local level, like a Land Transfer tax.

    None of this is stopping Toronto from having more building cranes up than NYC (or any other US centre).

    It turns out taxes are not that much of an impediment if your getting other things right.

    ****

    That said, Detroit is turning a corner, its still got some distance to go, and like any place, it should never stop striving to be better.

    The most important investments Detroit can make to lure new residents and new investment are in quality of life. Tax reduction (rate) will come via assessment growth and more residents.

    Transit is the most important, followed by renewing the waterfront, streetscaping and removal of some highways near downtown. Along with, of course, schools.

    That last one, however, is more than a Detroit issue, its a Michigan issue in many respects, Detroit just being an acute version of the Michigan problem.

    Many of these types of investments are underway. More are needed, but the current situation is more hopeful than not.

    ***

    Final thought.

    If you think you have ideas for things that could be done better....while there's certainly nothing wrong w/sharing them here, have you considered actually lobbying people in power to change things?

    On a Toronto forum I partake in, I often see other forumers posting that they asked an official or a politician a question via Twitter, (they then post the response for everyone to see). I think its important to maintain a constructive view of making things better, not just complaining.

  13. #13
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    Default

    If I could afford a ticket and invite to rub elbows with those
    who coven in Mackinac every year, I might have the secret answers.
    I'm just an individual with observations, not a paid politician with solutions.

    I see it as a Forum, a discussion page - not a cheerleading website.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by O3H View Post
    If I could afford a ticket and invite to rub elbows with those
    who coven in Mackinac every year, I might have the secret answers.
    I'm just an individual with observations, not a paid politician with solutions.

    I see it as a Forum, a discussion page - not a cheerleading website.
    At no point did I suggest you cheerlead or work to have anyone else do the same for you.

    What I suggested was that if you have questions about how things are done or ideas about how they could be done better, why not pose those to people who can change things.

    I'm not naive about whether change will happen, often it will not.

    But at least you hold people accountable.

    That said, sometimes, you may surprise yourself w/your ability to make a difference. Not every stupid law, or policy decision is the result of conspiracy. Some are just the result of politicians or bureaucrats who don't know better.

    Still other bad ideas may survive or thrive, only because the broader public does not appear to have taken note.

    By asking a question publicly, you may shift the political calculus on a particular decision.

    Try it.

    Its not that time-consuming, its not expensive.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by O3H View Post
    If I could afford a ticket and invite to rub elbows with those
    who coven in Mackinac every year, I might have the secret answers.
    I'm just an individual with observations, not a paid politician with solutions.

    I see it as a Forum, a discussion page - not a cheerleading website.
    If you're referring to my post as cheerleading, that was not my objective. I was trying to get you to see that your claim of Detroit dying was overdramatic and vastly incorrect, and I was trying to open your eyes to the fact that things take time to change, but we are experiencing positive change.

    If you'd like to see a dying city, pay a visit to Saginaw, or Gary IN, or Cairo IL, or just about anywhere in West Virginia or Mississippi. Those are cities that have no hope for them - continuous loss of population and businesses, desolate central areas full of abandonment and empty lots, little jobs to keep citizens employed, high crime, low education rates, dwindling tax base...the list goes on. There has not been any political leaders or large businesses stepping in to contribute to a revitalization and no one seems to care whether these towns exist or not. This is not the case with Detroit, as we know.

  16. #16
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    What have people from this Forum actually BOUGHT that was made in Detroit proper (within the city limits) -- apart from """entertainment"""" ?

    Hard goods, Durable goods, things that last 10, 15 years ???

    Apart from construction projects - and ""entertainment""" - what is there ?

  17. #17

    Default

    Overall I think the Detroit revival is real, especially Downtown or anywhere within a mile of Downtown in any direction. It depends what you want to focus on. The suburbs are bad, so are the schools. Crime is down, or so I hear. Woodward Avenue is now nice all the way from Downtown to Grand Boulevard. That's a start.

    The 'comeback' may not come back so much to make Detroit a major (multi-million population) town.

  18. #18

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    I would say certain neighborhoods in the city look like they are improving. I would also say that all the neighborhoods that have been decimated are still that way. Block after block of what were beautiful brick houses have been vandalized, torched or otherwise torn up - it’s enough to make a person cry. Neighborhood business districts are almost all long gone. The entire lower east side of the city, south of Mack, east of Conner is in very bad shape with the exception of Indian Village. That’s really only touching the surface of the problems with the neighborhoods

    The school system is horrible, the average family with kids doesn’t want to spend 8 or 10K per kid per year for private schools. In other cities, they don’t have to.

    I love Detroit, I have been living in this area my entire life, but there are lots of challenges to living in this city.

  19. #19

    Default

    Other cities may have a bit prettier facade but when the layers are pealed back,they suffer the same ills as Detroit.

    I think the difference is while playing catch up,the residents of Detroit are bit more committed,sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the positive side of where you are going,the OP provided list is long but it really does not contain anything that is not being already addressed,it is just a statement of the obvious that everybody is already aware of.

    I would think that because they are being addressed would be a positive sign and not a negative one.

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by O3H View Post
    What have people from this Forum actually BOUGHT that was made in Detroit proper (within the city limits) -- apart from """entertainment"""" ?

    Hard goods, Durable goods, things that last 10, 15 years ???

    Apart from construction projects - and ""entertainment""" - what is there ?
    First, there aren't so many consumer goods that are intended to last more than ten years anymore--we are a throwaway society.

    Second, what durable good have you bought that was made in San Francisco or New York or Boston lately?

    Cities don't have to produce consumer durables to have viable economies.

  21. #21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by O3H View Post
    What have people from this Forum actually BOUGHT that was made in Detroit proper (within the city limits) -- apart from """entertainment"""" ?

    Hard goods, Durable goods, things that last 10, 15 years ???

    Apart from construction projects - and ""entertainment""" - what is there ?
    Iíve spent >$1M recently on things I hope would last more than 10 years.

  22. #22
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    Sooooooooooooo - after alllllll that - WHO, yes WHO
    is actually paying the taxes that will drive Detroit forward ?

    Detroit needs revenue, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, to advance forward
    -- and if tax breaks are around every corner for """"entertainment""""
    the tax base is the neighborhoods with really old buildings.

    Let's play hardball now - put on the helmet and be willing to be hit.

    WHO pays the majority of taxes that will allow DETROIT to move forward ??

    If it is not manufacturing anything people buy/want ,
    then it's a service of some kind enticing people to drive downtown for.
    Other than sports and the casinos, how do you get a suburbanite,
    to part with their hard earned dollars and BUY something in the city ,
    --- that is not food, or a concert, or an event - i.e. entertainment ?

    The leisure and hospitality supersector added 8,400 jobs in the local area
    from March 2017 to March 2018.

    Trade, transportation, and utilities had the second largest employment increase
    in the Detroit area, up 4,900 over the year.

    The construction supersector added 4,600 jobs in the
    local area from March 2017 to March 2018.

    Professional and business services, Detroit’s largest supersector,
    added 3,100 jobs from March 2017 to March 2018.

    MANUFACTURING was dead last , on par with government jobs at about 1,000 for the year.

    Now if the sports teams suck, and people have no money for restaurants
    and or the casino ---------------- what happens to Detroit in the next few years ???

    Is all that FLUFF HYPE and HUULAbaLOO really going to drive Detroit forward
    ..... I don't think so .......I say smoke and mirrors.....lots of nothing in the end run.
    Last edited by O3H; September-02-18 at 06:45 PM.

  23. #23

    Default

    (Apparently lost during outage, but recovered from browser cache)
    ................................

    I don't give a flip about Toronto, NYC or any other area, and these discussions don't really have a place here.

    As I said before on another thread, show me real progress in that areas like Grand River and Oakman or Gratiot and Conner are thriving again, and I may begin to believe the hype. As it is now, I see the city hovering just around coma stage, with only an artificial infusion of outside funding keeping it alive. Cut off that outside funding and it will be back to where it was 10 years ago. There is no local funding being generated to support the neighborhoods in the way of real jobs real people can do every day. Most of the residents don't have the ability to do the tech or financial types jobs in the inner ring. They need labor jobs, loading trucks, cutting lumber, machine shops, stocking warehouses .... all the type of jobs that used to be plentiful in small businesses along Lyndon, Fullerton, Meyers, and so many other streets then 'new Detroiters' have never heard of.

  24. #24

    Default Services

    Not to dog-pile, but one more bit of anecdotal evidence.

    I have two aquaintances who have bought and restored houses in the last 10-15 years, both before the real estate boom, and one before the housing crisis. One is still actively restoring and fixing up other houses in Detroit. Both have bailed on living there.

    The #1 reason - city services. Water bills that are screwed up and don't get fixed. Police not showing up when someone is burglarizing a neighbor. Water main breaks causing sidewalks to collapse and never being repaired. These weren't minor, nit-picky issues. These are basic functions of government that aren't working.

    Both have sold their homes and moved out of the city. One has a time-lapse video of pictures of his old house he takes every few months, and it's already starting to deteriorate.

    Someone who cares needs to be in charge of this stuff. Every couple of years the mayor or a city council member will make a stink, it will get better for a while, then things begin to backslide again.

    If you can't keep people in the neighborhoods, Detroit isn't going to complete it's comeback.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBMcB View Post
    If you can't keep people in the neighborhoods, Detroit isn't going to complete it's comeback.
    Putting aside midtown/downtown and a few enclaves like Boston Edison, there is no reason to live in Detroit outside of maybe family considerations. It isn't urban, schools/services/safety are awful and most neighborhoods are at least partially ruined.

    Adjacent suburbs are relatively cheap, safe, intact and with reasonable services. Now that there's less resistance to African American migration outside the city, it makes sense that the city's black middle class has largely left over the last 20 years.

    IMO only immigration would fix the 7 Mile/Evergreen type areas. There's nothing there for gentrifiers. It's the same bungalows as in Redford or Livonia but ruined. Maybe the Dexter-Davison type areas have a long-term chance with gentrifiers because they still have a bit of prewar framework, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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