"I represent Mid-Michigan taxpayers and they think money should be going to their roads and their schools and their cities and they don't want me sending money to bailout Detroit."
-- Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge
Gov. Rick Snyder Wednesday unveiled his plan to commit $250 million in state funds to shore up Detroit's pension funds and to speed up the city's exit out of bankruptcy.
"This is not a bailout of paying the debts of the city of Detroit, this is not a bailout of banks or other creditors," Snyder said during Wednesday's press conference in Lansing.
"This is focusing on reducing and mitigating the impact on retirees."
The plan is already drawing support and criticism as Republican leaders have already said they're preparing for a tough sell in the Legislature.
"Today it's Detroit, tomorrow could it be Flint, Saginaw, could it be Wayne County," questioned Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "What other municipality will come hat in hand and ask for money."
Suffice to say, Jones sits firmly in the "no" vote category on the proposal, the Mid-Michigan lawmaker argues the money should be spent elsewhere.
"I'm going to be very reluctant to vote for something that sends money to Detroit," he said. "I represent Mid-Michigan taxpayers and they think money should be going to their roads and their schools and their cities and they don't want me sending money to bailout Detroit."
While Gov. Snyder insists it's not a bailout while proposing the money come from the state's tobacco settlement fund, some lawmakers question whether it could still end up costing taxpayers.
"If we take money from the tobacco settlement and we leave some programs hanging out to dry then that will have to be back-filled by taxpayer dollars, so it could be a shell game," said Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.
"I'm curious to see the proposal the governor will have to ensure those programs remain whole."
Meanwhile, House Representative Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, supported the discussion of the proposal, but wasn't ready to commit to supporting the plan itself.
"We're certainly interested in continuing to be a part of the conversation but look forward to getting some additional information and facts," he said.
Detroit's debt is estimated to be around $18 billion including $3.5 billion in underfunded pension obligations.