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Detroit’s Cultural Cornerstones Could Be Next Victim To Budget Cuts

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Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History could lose half its subsidy, nearly $1 million, under the City Council’s proposal. (credit: chwmuseum.org)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Some of Detroit’s most high-profile cultural sites could be in jeopardy, as the City Council struggles with Mayor Dave Bing’s proposed budget plan.

Bing unveiled his $3.1 billion budget plan in April,  saying the city needs to find $200 million savings to present a balanced budget for the new fiscal year that starts July first.

But, Detroit City Council is pushing to cut an additional $65 million from the Mayor’s proposed budget, saying that is how much revenues are over inflated.

“I do not agree with them at all. I would like to take the responsibility to say that you don’t need to cut anything else. We’ve already cut $200 million,” Bing said.

The Council’s proposal involves a 75 percent drop in subsidies to cultural institutions including the DIA, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Zoo and Eastern Market.

“I’ve never played politics and I won’t play politics. I’ve been very realistic, I’ve been very upfront, I’ve been very truthful and I think we can manage this,” Bing said. 

“The budget that we put together had no fluff in it. It’s a stretch to cut $200 million. To try to cut another $100 million or another $60 million is going way too deep. I don’t want to see that happen,” the Mayor continued.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History would take the biggest hit, with its nearly $2 million subsidy cut in half.

“They don’t agree with my budget and I don’t agree with their cuts. So, I’m willing to say, put it all on me and let me manage it,” Bing said. “I am absolutely prepared. I’m saying it to you so I am absolutely saying it to the world.”

When presenting the Council his plan, Bing said if the City does nothing, Detroit’s deficit, now at about $150 million, will grow to about $1.2 billion dollars by fiscal year 2015.

Final budget approval is expected Tuesday.

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