Friday, October 10, 2014

Lawmaker requests Michigan Attorney General's opinion on Detroit arena funding

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 1:16 PM

State Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit) - MICHIGAN STATE HOUSE
  • Michigan State House
  • State Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit)

This was dropped in our mailbox today: State Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit) has requested an opinion from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on the way a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings near downtown Detroit will be funded.  

In a letter to Schuette's office dated Sept. 23, Robinson asks the attorney general to opine on whether Michigan's constitution was violated when the state Legislature passed a bill in December 2012 specifically to divert state school aid funds for the $450 million arena.

For years, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA), which will own the arena, has captured state school taxes to be used solely for development purposes. The state has said it reimburses the school aid fund for the loss.

However, if the state Legislature had rejected the bill, the DDA would have no longer been able to capture those school taxes, which would've then flown directly to the State School Aid Fund. Under the deal approved to facilitate the project's funding, the DDA will capture an estimated $15 million annually in school taxes generated by properties in its district.

A spokesperson for Schuette's office said Robinson's request has been received and is under review. A request for comment from Olympia Development of Michigan, the real estate arm of Red Wings owner Ilitch Holdings Inc., was not immediately returned. 

In particular to her main question, Robinson points to section 9, paragraph 11 of the state's constitution, which says, "There shall be established a state school aid fund which shall be used exclusively for aid to school districts, higher education, and school employees' retirements systems, as provided by law." 

Last month, Olympia marked the new arena with a dirt-throwing ceremony. It's expected to open in time for the National Hockey League's 2017-2018 season. 

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation