Around three years ago, a motivated group of Hamtramck residents organized their neighbors and filled the city's potholes
, which the terminally insolvent local government couldn't afford to repair.
In 2018, a low-grade pizza purveyor will take care of the job. Domino's Pizza announced on Wednesday that it will provide a grant for Hamtramck to fill its potholes as part of the Ann Arbor-based chain's Paving For Pizza
promotion. It's awarding grants to cities to fund pothole repairs, and residents must nominate their town to get in on the action. The chain reports that more people from the very dignified city of Hamtramck begged for its money than any other in Michigan.
Of course, it's nice to get the potholes fixed, but the whole thing is also a sad commentary on the condition of local and state government. In the old days, you didn't have to order pizza or rely on corporate benevolence to get potholes filled. Governments used to take care of repairing the nation's infrastructure with tax money that it collected.
But in 2011 in Michigan, the Republican-controlled state government raised taxes on senior citizens
and handicapped people while drastically cutting taxes for businesses
. The following year, about 100,000 businesses paid no taxes at all
, and, in 2016, Michigan businesses collectively paid $0 in taxes
When businesses pay $0 in taxes, it sure gets difficult to fix the roads. But the state's politicians weren't done there. Even though there's less tax money to go around and the roads are falling apart, Michigan continues to give away billions of dollars of tax payer money
to wealthy developers, like Dan Gilbert.
And at the federal level, Republicans in Congress and Trump in 2017 cut the corporate tax rate, which Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle supported
So here we are in 2018. The roads are falling apart, there's no money left to fix them, and now you have to do dumb shit like beg Domino's to do something about it. When the rich and corporations pay more taxes, the roads get fixed. Perhaps voting for politicians who won't cut corporate tax rates or hand out tax breaks to corporations is a more dignified and sustainable solution for our crumbling roads than asking Domino's for a few bucks.
The pizza chain's promo material shows its logo slapped on the filled potholes. It's not yet clear whether Hamtramck will have Domino's logos all over its streets.
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