Death of a city

Plant closings are nothing new in Michigan and around the nation. Jobs come and go and businesses ebb and flow, but after the recent painful recession, we expected more diligence from General Motors.

The GM plants that are being slated for closing have been in the communities for many years and they are lifelines for their host towns and the businesses around them. What makes the decision by GM painful is that the economy is doing well, and unemployment rates are the lowest in years, yet GM wants to lay off workers.

We had hoped that large employers like GM, Ford and Chrysler, would create a better plan when they decide to close a plant. Here is why:

  • Most cities are facing budgetary constraints and depend heavily on the taxes from a large employer and the jobs they offer. If such a business is not replaced quickly, it could force cities to slash services and lay off employees.
    If people lose jobs in large numbers, they lose their homes and become unable to pay property tax, which increases the burden on the city’s tax base.
  • Most plants create supporting businesses, and if a plant closes, those businesses leave to a different area and take away with them their economic benefits, creating a bigger financial vacuum for the community.
  • I understand that GM will continue to pay its property taxes whether the plant is open or closed, but all of the economic vitality that a large business brings will evaporate. To a small town like Hamtramck, it could mean devastation.

We urge GM to work with the cities and the economic development groups in the area to find a viable solution for all.

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