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Senator: Emergency Manager Would Not Work For Detroit

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DETROIT (WWJ) - One state lawmaker says an emergency manager would not work for the city of Detroit.

Senator Virgil Smith said he’s introducing a Senate Resolution Wednesday that calls on Governor Rick Snyder to avoid appointing an emergency manager over Detroit, and to work with all stakeholders to fix the city’s long term financial problems.

“I don’t think an emergency manager can end our economic woes. I think we’ll have the same problems when the emergency manager is gone,” said Smith.

The senator said what really needs to be fixed are declining property values.

“With declining property tax revenue, declining revenue for revenue sharing, where is he going to… I mean, we’ve got to bring new revenue in,” said Smith.

Smith said all of his Detroit colleagues have signed on to the idea, but he hasn’t heard reaction yet from Snyder.

“I’m basically asking the governor, to have a constructive conversation with us to look at solutions to try to end our revenue woes in the City of Detroit and all local jurisdictions or local municipalities in the State of Michigan,” said Smith.

In a written statement, Smith said “if we really want to fix Detroit’s economic problems, let’s all come together and figure out how to increase the city’s population and have a taxation system that is fair for businesses and residents but also reflects the needs of Michigan’s largest city. And if we really want to encourage families to live in Detroit, we need to admit that no one will want to move into a city that does not have a democratically elected city government representing them.”

Smith said the last thing he wants is for “over half of our African-American population to have had their democratically elected leaders replaced with an emergency manager, unaccountable to the public.”

Before the state launched a preliminary review of the city’s finances, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said “Detroit needs to be run by Detroiters… We are opposed to an Emergency Manager. We’re making progress and moving closer than ever to addressing this fiscal crisis.”

Earlier, Snyder said Detroit should welcome any help from Lansing.

“I don’t necessarily understand that conclusion because if you’re in tough financial shape, why wouldn’t you want people to help you?” Snyder said.

The preliminary review ended on Dec. 9, giving the State Department of Treasury 30 days to make a decision on whether there is financial stress in the city warranting an emergency manager.

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