BENTON HARBOR, MI — The State of Michigan forced a $2.3 million loan down the throat of the citizens of Benton Harbor. The loan will keep them in debt. If you make a loan to pay off debts you are not getting rid of your debt. You are putting your city on the line to cover that debt and could possibly fail. This is a Quicken loan deal, where our city is put up as collateral.
Benton Harbor has a lot of financial problems. It is one of many cities in the Union that have lost their industrial tax base. Like other cities, the city continually bleeds residents while doling out financial give-a-ways to the corporations that remain, like the Whirlpool Corporation. Many municipalities like Benton Harbor, due to budget cuts, have abandoned their police force and many services. This allows the county and State agencies to come in and take over.
Governor Snyder signed an Emergency Manager bill that allows him to take over or even eliminate whole cities, schools and locally elected officials. Then puppets are installed to help giant corporations like Whirlpool take over cities. Whirlpool is like wild horses. They run you down, destroy your city or town and take your job to China or someplace else if you do not tame them. Whirlpool is unrestrained by Benton Harbor’s Mayor James Hightower who allows the corporation to dump their costs on city residents. This is one way that Whirlpool maximizes profit for shareholders at the expense of the people of Benton Harbor.
Commissioner Marcus Muhammad told the Herald Paladium, “After four years of emergency, quote-unquote ‘management,’ the city has been subjected to a loan . . . debt is slavery. And a move as such only cripples the city of Benton Harbor and places us in a neo-colonial or apartheid state in relation to the state of Michigan.” He added, “It’s gravely unfortunate that the state opted to support the loan and oppose revenue by undermining the city income tax . . . if the city of Benton Harbor does not generate revenue, bankruptcy is inevitable.”
Commissioner Trenton Bowen told the Herald Paladium he was “also unhappy to hear the loan has been approved . . . the city needs to generate revenue, not take on more debt . . . you have an opportunity to bring in revenue and you encourage the residents to defeat it so you can go get a loan to put the city in more debt.”
It’s unfortunate that Mayor Hightower opted to support this loan and oppose revenue by undermining the city income tax. It is time for the residents of Benton Harbor to take a stand against elected officials who have the best interest of the corporation at heart—not the best interests of the residents. Mayor James Hightower is desperate and panicking. The recall signatures for him to be removed from office are in with more than enough signatures. He is out intimidating the citizens to force them to lie. Is this the type of Mayor you want? We must say enough is enough.