By Charles Sercombe
Local officials aren’t letting General Motors get off easy in closing one of the city’s largest tax revenue streams.
This Saturday (March 23), a town hall meeting will be held at the public library (2360 Caniff) at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the closing of GM’s Poletown Plant.
The closing of the plant will be a financial setback for the city. GM currently pays the city about $850,000 per year in lieu of property taxes.
The public school district will also lose about $110,000 per year from the plant’s closing.
City officials want the plant to remain open, but barring that, they want GM to do something with the site so it won’t remain vacant and thereby not producing needed revenue for the city.
So far, GM isn’t saying what its plan is, but that the issue will be a matter of discussion with the UAW when new contract talks begin in September.
What rubs some folks wrong about the closing is that thousands of Detroit residents and business owners were forced to sell their properties to make way for the plant.
That happened in the mid-1980s, and caused much emotional turmoil.
The plant is just 34 years old, and it’s been baffling for some to figure out why GM is so eager to shut it down after all the fuss that went into building it.
Another rub is that the U.S. government spent about $80 billion of taxpayers’ money to bail out GM during the economic downturn in 2008.
Without the bailout, GM would have likely gone out of business, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.
GM has paid all but $11 billion back from that bailout.
According to the city, GM posted a $2.8 billion profit recently.
The Poletown Plant is one of four plants being closed in the U.S., as well as another one in Canada. In each of these communities, the closings are causing folks to panic about their financial futures.
City officials want to hear from the public as to what they should tell GM.
March 22, 2019