Lawmakers Delay Initial Vote on Detroit Bankruptcy

MGN Online
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Lansing, Mich. (AP/WILX) They're calling it the "Grand Bargain" but how good of a deal is it, if it's your money going toward helping Detroit get out of bankruptcy?

Michigan lawmakers Tuesday decided to wait a day to hold an initial vote on giving $195 million in state money to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy while keeping the city under state oversight for decades.

Local leaders, like Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, say it's a tough sell especially during an election year, and one he's not jumping to support.

"My constituents have overwhelmingly told me, put the money into roads, don't send it to Detroit," Jones said.

"We are setting a horrible precedent, who's going to be next? Pontiac, Flint, Wayne County are going to have their hand out, we cannot bail out every city in Michigan."

The Republican chairman of a House committee plans to vote on the 11-bill package Wednesday to allow more time to review a number of changes being made. City unions oppose provisions in the legislation that aren't part of a deal brokered with bankruptcy mediators.

Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing said he hasn't fully committed to supporting the newly revised package of bills yet, but does support the concept of helping the city emerge from bankruptcy.

"Obviously having the largest city in the state in bankruptcy, impacts all of our state," Singh said.

"We have to be able to have all our communities solvent, if you have a major city in bankruptcy that impacts our bond ratings as a state."

Singh went on to add, "If we're not able to get the good return on the dollar that will mean less dollars for education, less dollars for transportation and other things we care about."

The legislation commits $194.8 million to help prevent steeper cuts to retiree pensions and the sale of pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Foundations and the museum have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars, too.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants the bills on his desk in June.

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