The Michigan Economic Development Corporation just can't stop bragging about showering the gypsy caravans from Hollywood with taxpayer dollars. For third time in the past couple of weeks, the MEDC have announced another film tax credit boondoggle. This time it's a $2.8 million check from the taxpayers for the production of the movie Freaky Deaky in Motown (you know that corpse of a city that was once was the fifth largest metropolis in the United States and the center of the automaking world).
River City residents have given up on the Grand Rapids Public Schools, if the dismal turnout for the May 2nd school board election is any evidence. With less than 15,000 votes between them, pro-union candidates Monica Randles and Raynard Ross won the two open seats on the Grand Rapids Board of Education. When they join the board in July, board members endorsed by the teachers union will constitute a majority. In addition to Randles and Ross, the pro-union bloc will include current board members Tony Baker, Wendy Falb, Jon O’Connor, and Maureen Quinn Slade.
Mind you, the old crew was hardly anti-union and certainly not pro-taxpayer. At a public meeting last month, the outgoing board reported that they had gotten together with Paul Helder, president of the teachers union, to plot out how to organize a union-cum-social justice coalition and then draft GRPS employees, students, and parents into a campaign to hammer politicians for more tax dollars. More tax dollars for what? To maintain salaries and benefits for Helder’s union members.
As noted below, it is lunacy for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to rain $40 million of taxpayer cash on Walt Disney Studios. This "bargain" is costing the taxpayers over $155K for each job that Disney projects will be created by its production of the film Oz here in Michigan. This doesn't include all of the other tax subsidies, credits, and breaks -- up to $120 million -- showered upon Raleigh Michigan Studios, which is being built in Pontiac for the production of the Disney film.
The government using taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers instead of the marketplace is a dubious proposition at best. But even an advocate of this sort of policy can see that the Michigan film tax credit is Loony Tunes. The public cost has no bearing whatsoever to the public interest. Compare the largesse Disney and Raleigh are receiving to other tax deals the state his given to companies establishing a permanent facility and jobs in Michigan. This highlights the bureaucratic insanity of welfare for film-makers.
Former Grand Rapids City Commissioner Rick Tormala has a talk show every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on WPRR, which is broadcast on 1680 AM and 95.3 FM. You can also stream his show live through the internet at www.publicrealityradio.org. Rick's tag line is "Not right, not left----in fact he is no where in between." Check him out.
When the taxpayers are subsidizing Disney to make a movie, you know Michigan film-making tax subsidy is lunacy. From the River City Zek ...
Today the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the people who decide which businesses get your tax dollars, proudly announced that they have forked over to Walt Disney Studios a $40 million tax subsidy to make a movie, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, at a new studio in Pontiac. On top of that the MEDC has given the owner of the studio, an outift doing business as Raleigh Michigan Studios, $20 million in tax incentives and Renaissance Zone tax breaks plus up to $100 million in state business tax credits over the next several years.
On Tuesday the Rapid bus millage passed by a slim margin. Let's give the credit to our esteemed Mayor and City Commissioners for their ardent endorsement of this new tax on property owners for putting it over the top.
As I noted elsewhere, a bus rider picks up about 11 cents out of every dollar of the cost. The taxpayers pick up the rest. Instead of having the rider pay another 6 or 7 cents for additional runs (you know, to meet the overwhelming demand), the Rapid bureaucrats figured the taxpayers should cough up the cash instead. And our City officials gave a thumbs up to that.
(1) When was the last time you rode the Rapid? (Let's be generous, P.R. stunts iucluded.)
(2) How often do you ride the Rapid? (Hmm. Little tougher question.)
(3) Will you use the Rapid to commute to and from City Commission meetings? (After all, we are now paying for all that extra bus service to make it easier, right?)
We'll let you know what, if any, answers we get from these politicians who are so free and easy about spending our money on their pet projects. I suspect the response from them will be, "The bus is not for us." Hit the links on their names, and you can e-mail your questions, too.
It strikes me a bit odd that the Friends of Transit are pushing a new tax for a bus system that doesn't serve the lakeshore communities. So why are they sticking their nose into our business? If they insist on doing so, at least they could be honest about who they are -- namely, non-taxpayers who demand that others get stiffed with a tax hike.
The Pig in the Python The dirty little secret behind the success and failure of every school reform that the education establishment, the public school bureaucrats, and the teachers unions will never reveal.
The Fool's Gold of a College Education Most kids who get a college degree today have nothing but an expensive credential that lands them a job that any high school graduate could have gotten a generation ago -- WITHOUT the heavy burden of paying back a student loan.
The Fixer A four-part series about the local attorney behind the demise of Autodie, Butterworth Hospital, Amway, and Old Kent. Warning: Strong accusations of corruption, greed, and skullduggery. Not for the feint of heart.
Poison The nasty nature of the 26,000 tons of poison that The Boardwalk's developers dug up and then dumped upon the rest of us.
No Honor Among Thieves: The Demise of Quixtar The re-branding of Amway as Quixtar put lipstick on the pig, but none of the crappy way of doing business changed. Now comes public scrutiny around the world to control its kingpins and clean up the dirty "tools" business.
Lost Cause A story of how River City lost its way to a secure economic future.
Living Wage Kills Jobs City pols support a Marxist policy that, like all Marxist policies, hurt the very people they say it will help.
Defenders Who Do Not Defend Excessive plea-bargaining, lack of preparation, shoddy to non-existent representation, conflicts of interests are rife among lawyers taking public defender cases on the taxpayer dime.