Corporate and Government Interests Merging, says Dorothy Pinkney
People’s Tribune: Dorothy, what do you think about the state giving the Whirlpool Corporation tax incentives for a new $87 million office building and consolidation project?
Dorothy Pinkney: The Benton Harbor City Commissioners voted 7-2 on July 19, 2010, to approve a resolution supporting negotiation of financial incentives for Whirlpool, a multi-billion dollar corporation to develop the downtown lake front property. The deal is worth $50 million. This is free money to Whirlpool. Also, Whirlpool pays no taxes and pays no water bills. This is a very sad day for Benton Harbor’s residents. The greedy bloodsucking corporation known as Whirlpool has done it again. Whirlpool always finds ways to take money from Benton Harbor, a city that is $5 million in the red. What we have here is the merging of corporate and government interests to maximize profits for the few.
PT: How will the people of Benton Harbor benefit from these tax giveaways?
DP: The community will not benefit from this tremendous tax give away. There will be no jobs for the residents. Whirlpool just keeps on taking and taking. This is the last step for the residents of Benton Harbor before being evicted.
PT: Is poverty growing in Benton Harbor?
DP: The unofficial jobless rate has increased to 75%. The poverty level is over 90%. Homelessness is growing. The people are packed in with relatives and friends. The living conditions are bad. This is a tremendous change from when I was a child living here. There were plenty of jobs. That is before industry automated or moved away.
PT: What are the people of Benton Harbor saying about Whirlpool, the developers and the local government?
DP: The residents are sick of Whirlpool stealing from them.
PT: What can be done to stop the corporations and for people to have decent lives?
DP: Whirlpool is the enemy! If anybody can say differently, they are mentally, morally and socially corrupt and may be getting paid under the table by Whirlpool. Whirlpool’s 100-year lease with the city — for the leasing of three holes for the golf course in Jean Klock Park — is ridiculous. Whirlpool is stealing the future of our children by taking this prime land. The High School will be next as the school sits right on the lake.