There are three:
1) Government is limited in its scope and provides only services required for the benefit of all citizens. This is the fundamental enabler of low taxation, itself a key factor in competitiveness. Competitiveness in turn drives the economy, providing both job and wage growth. Also, the government is highly transparent and overseen by an active “Anti-Corruption Group”, which employs strict measures to prevent, as opposed to catch after the fact, corruption. The government operates at or below 10% of GDP, by constitutional dictate. The social safety net is operated by charities, which are highly encouraged and supported by the government.
2) Belle Isle has exceptional aesthetics. It is a walking community without motor vehicles, except service vehicles in the middle of the night. A monorail provides the primary transportation, both around the island and to the Transportation Center located on the Detroit side of the river. The buildings conform to high architectural standards, overseen by a talented planning director, who is advised by the best architects and planners from around the world.
3) One of the core values is respect for all its citizens, no matter their station in life. Belle Isle doesn’t encourage anything which might cause divisiveness or envy among its citizens, by segmenting people into groups. The culture is one of bringing people together, not dividing them. Also, a command of English is required to be an immigrant, as a common language fosters common understandings. Probably the most important personal value we like to see is that of “Self-Reliance.” It is so important to individual freedom and a sense of worth, and is the key to limited government (55% of U. S. government spending is for entitlements). It was one of the key principles on which America was based and has gradually been forgotten over the years.
Taxes have to conform to three basic principles. They need to be transparent, never levied on what is encouraged, and the costs of collection low. Importantly, there are no income taxes on individuals or companies, and no taxes on interest, dividends, capital gains or estates.
There are three sources of revenue. The first is user fees, which apply primarily to the monorail. A 10% sales tax provides a second source. Importantly, sales taxes encourage thrift and are collected outside the cost structure of the products. Real estate taxes provide the third, but the system is radically different than that employed in the U.S. Only the raw land value is taxed, not what the owner builds on it. This follows the principle of government only receiving compensation for what it provides. Government didn’t pay to construct buildings on the owner’s land, nor does it bear the risk of loss. We encourage development of property, not discourage it.
The goal, which is very achievable, is to have total tax expense limited to 10% of GDP of Belle Isle, compared to the 40% of GDP government expense in America.
That said, Belle Isle will be a place where high earners and people of wealth will want to live. But so will people of modest means and they will be welcome. Twenty percent of Belle Isle residents will be invited to live on the island with reduced or no citizen fees.
Meanwhile, the off-island jobs Belle Isle will create along the Jefferson corridor, in addition to the Islanders’ demand for cultural, medical, retail and other off-island services, will be a huge financial stimulus for Detroit and its residents. So while Belle Isle may be a haven for the wealthy (and the non-wealthy), it will also be a wealth creator that will benefit the entire area.
Second, a new Belle Isle park would be created on the Detroit side of the bridge of substantial size and running along the river. It would be newer and better equipped in many ways than the old park. It would be beautiful and it is anticipated that it would include all the features that Detroit families might want for family recreation.
It would be available at no cost.
One final thought. The views from this island “nation” will be spectacular. The Detroit and Windsor skylines are superb, day or night, and a two minute boat ride puts you on Lake St. Clair, one of the most beautiful in the world and arguably the best bass and Muskie fishing on the planet. A few more minutes north and you are on the first of the Great Lakes, a paradise of endless water and picturesque ports. Chicago is a heavenly trip around our mitten. Our rugged and undiscovered Upper Peninsula is on your way. There is the beauty of endless miles of waterfront of Michigan and Canada, and traveling south and east are Toledo, Cleveland and perhaps the best amusement park in the world. You can drive your boat from Belle Isle to Antarctica without getting off, if that’s what floats it, and return via Australia and New Zealand.
So much to do…..natural, cultural, educational, recreational, and spiritual….and so little time.
One finds unlimited everything…….but isn’t that what freedom should be all about?
Perhaps if we can dream it, we can become it.
Please come see us. And oh yeah, bring your capital.