The Detroit News’ Oct. 11 editorial, “City shouldn’t pass shakedown tax,” mistakenly represents that the proposed Detroit Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) ordinance is a “shakedown tax.” This characterization is glaring evidence of a lack of understanding of what a CBA really is.

If the word “shakedown” is to be used, it is more appropriate to describe the millions of taxpayer dollars given to developers in the form of grants, exemptions, tax abatements, land transfers and low interest loans. A CBA, on the other hand, is an efficient means to facilitate what developers say they want, which is to be good community partners who give back to the communities whose taxpayer dollars support their investments.

If what developers say is true when they hold their hands out for taxpayer dollars, they will welcome having a CBA ordinance as a template for how development can be done for the mutual benefit of all. CBAs maximize efficiencies in development, minimize future infrastructure remediation costs and build strong, sustainable communities through respectful communication and collaboration.

Mildred Hunt Robbins, president,

West Grand Boulevard Collaborative

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