Flashpoint: Our tax dollars and business developments, incentives -- how much is too much?

Watch Flashpoint every Sunday at 10 a.m. on Local 4 News and Local 4+

DETROIT – Whether it’s a new battery plant or the reboot of District Detroit, how much should we pony up for economic progress?

And when a Starbucks has to close its doors because of security worries, is that just life in a big city, or is that a sign of serious trouble in Midtown?

  • Watch the full episode of Flashpoint live in the video player above. You can catch new episodes of Flashpoint at 10 a.m. on Sundays on Local 4 News and Local 4+

We’re just about three weeks from the start of spring. You may not feel the customary urgency to get there given that it’s been a relatively mild winter -- but we paid for those warmer temperatures this past week. Colder weather would have meant plenty of snow, but instead we ended up with a nasty ice storm that brought down branches and power lines -- and led to more conversations about infrastructure and the vulnerability of the grid. Hopefully, we’ll contend with more snow or rain and not the dangerous in-between.

We discussed business and development this morning. For some time, I’ve been inviting the folks behind District Detroit to come on to talk about what is about to happen as well as what hasn’t happened yet -- and they were here on Sunday to lay out the vision for us, one that was first promised nearly a decade ago.

We also talked about just what is fair and wise when it comes to public money and spending on development and incentives. It’s a competitive world -- no doubt about that. But some fear that the competition amounts to a race to the bottom and that a lot of the breaks given out to big companies can never be amortized in a meaningful way.

And what about keeping existing businesses? I don’t want to sound like a coffee snob snubbed because a Starbucks at Woodward and Mack is closing. But when they say it’s due to security problems -- well, that’s not good. We saw if my roundtable could talk me out of that worry -- all on Sunday on Flashpoint.

About the Author:

Devin Scillian is equally at home on your television, on your bookshelf, and on your stereo. Devin anchors the evening newscasts for Local 4. Additionally, he moderates Flashpoint, Local 4's Sunday morning news program. He is also a best-selling author of children's books, and an award-winning musician and songwriter.