Detroit is enjoying a unique period as a result of receiving American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds as part of the federal government’s stated efforts to support communities in the wake of COVID-19. On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously voted to advance a resolution recommending the city use ARPA funds to renovate Detroit Land Bank Authority houses and lease them to resident at below-market prices. The City Council also postponed a vote on whether to provide a $60 million tax break to Dan Gilbert’s Hudson’s site project.
“I feel the need to vote no on the tax abatements, not because of this tax abatement, not because of Dan Gilbert, but because of our whole tax system as a whole.” —Detroit City Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero
Listen: Why Council Member Santiago-Romero is voting “no” on tax break for Hudson’s site project.
Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero represents District 6. She serves on the Budget, Finance & Audit Standing Committee, and is the first Latina to chair a standing committee, Public Health & Safety. Her team is focused on housing, transit, infrastructure and LGBTQ policies, among others. She says that she is voting no on the proposed tax abatement because the focus needs to be on addressing the tax system as a whole to address the needs of Detroit residents. She supports implementing a split-rate property tax system as part of the solution.
“I feel the need to vote no on the tax abatements, not because of this tax abatement, not because of Dan Gilbert, but because of our whole tax system as a whole. I think that we need to revisit it from the top down. In the state of Michigan, we need a graduated income tax where the richest are paying their fair share, which is not currently the case,” says Santiago-Romero. “Not only do Detroiters love a new restaurant and a new coffee shop, we love when our garbage is picked up on time — when there are no sink holes in our neighborhoods.”
Photo credit: City of Detroit/Flickr