Bill Would Seek Money for Detroit from the State

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Courtesy of Fox2 Detroit

DETROIT (WJBK) – It was almost one month ago when Detroit Mayor Dave Bing demanded hundreds of millions of dollars back from the state. Legislators are working on a bill to get some of that money out of the state’s hands and bring it back to the city, but before that happens, they’ve got a lot of convincing to do.

“If there is a way to resolve this without us having to bring in an emergency manager, I think we should do that and work toward that end,” said State Representative Fred Durhal.

That’s exactly why Durhal and the rest of Detroit caucus asked for a sit down with Mayor Bing. They met with him Monday morning. The mayor told them a lot of what we’ve been telling you. The city is in a crisis and without major concessions from unions and serious cost cutting, Detroit will be broke. However, Detroit legislators say the state played a major role in creating this mess.

“I believe the state put the city, to some degree, into this situation by eliminating the $179 million in statutory revenue sharing,” Durhal explained.

That’s not all. Durhal and city officials say the state owes Detroit an additional $220 million based on an agreement made more than ten years ago.

“There’s a history of the state not paying the city what it’s due,” Durhal said.

Does the State of Michigan have that kind of money to give? Well, it just might. Early estimates show the state could have a surplus of more than $300 million dollars, but should some of that money be used to pull Detroit out of this fiscal nightmare?

“That is money that’s due to the City of Detroit,” said Durhal.

“For Detroiters to think that … money is theirs is very optimistic,” said State Representative Chuck Moss, who chairs the Appropriation Committee.

He says sure the extra cash may help now, but “that’s not enough to save Detroit.”

“Detroit doesn’t need $200 million for some short term cash. Detroit owes $14 billion,” Moss explained. “Lansing has its own legacy costs. We have to pay down our own debt.”

What’s the governor have to say? Durhal sat down with him Monday afternoon.

“Quite frankly, I thought he’d flatly say no, but the governor surprised me a little bit and he didn’t say no. He’s concerned, just like other colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, about throwing cash at a problem to resolve it for right now,” he said.

However, there’s one thing even Detroit lawmakers have yet to hear from the city and the mayor — specifics.

“I think it’s a plan still being developed,” said Durhal.

Legislatures say they really do need specifics of that plan before they can get anyone else on board with their plan. Of course, the mayor has been meeting with the unions. He’s got more meeting scheduled for Tuesday, and there are a lot of ongoing talks happening right now. Legislators expect that they will be meeting with the mayor in the next two weeks.

When will lawmakers propose this bill? From what we understand, it won’t happen until January.

 

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