A developer wants the city of Detroit to sell an island that is now a city park to a group of buyers looking to transform it into the newest U.S. commonwealth.
Rodney Lockwood, a developer from Bingham Farms, a village of 1,100 people about a half-hour from Detroit, is pushing for the city to sell the 982-acre Belle Isle for $1 billion to a group of investors who 'believe in individual freedom, liberty and free markets,' according to a website set up by proponents of the concept, commonwealthofbelleisle.com.
During the next three decades, the buyers would establish a 'remarkable new nation' of 35,000 people using private money, transforming the island into a quasi-autonomous state with its own government, currency and system of taxation.
There would be no personal or corporate income tax in this business-friendly utopia.
Most people would buy citizenship to Belle Isle at a cost of $300,000. Twenty percent of the population would be exempt from paying the fee, allowing for some socioeconomic diversity.
All citizens would be mandated to have good credit, no criminal background and command of the English language, according to The Detroit News.
Supporters forecast that a privately owned Belle Isle would rival Singapore 'as an economic miracle,' generating 'billions of dollars in desperately needed economic growth' and becoming 'a social laboratory for the western world' -- an experiment in small government.
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