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Gov. Snyder Won’t Endorse Demand That Unions Pitch In For Detroit Pensions

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Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder doesn’t appear to be buying into Republican suggestions that unions should pony up their share to help shore up pensions as part of Detroit’s strategy for exiting bankruptcy.

The Republican governor said of House Speaker Jase Bolger’s request: “We didn’t have that on our list of conditions, but I appreciate him coming forward and sharing his thoughts on the topic.”

Snyder told reporters in Lansing on Wednesday that Bolger’s requirement would make approving bankruptcy legislation in May more “challenging.”

Snyder and legislative leaders have pledged to contribute $350 million over 20 years to settle the bankruptcy, partly to ensure city pensioners can’t sue Michigan when their benefits are trimmed.  That would match more than $330 million in commitments from national and local foundations to bolster pension plans and block the potential sale of valuable pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Although the Senate GOP leader has not endorsed Bolger’s idea either, it doesn’t appear to be a done deal in the Republican-led legislature.

Bolger has said unions should help mitigate the impact on pensioners they collected dues from — and he’s not backing down.

He told WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick that if they don’t do something, the state aid package is in jeopardy.

“And that would be their decision to put the package in jeopardy.” Bolger said. “It would be the unions’ obstinance that would put the package in jeopardy — not my consistency.”

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the city last July, estimating the Detroit’s debt at least $18 million. He filed a 120-page plan to restructure the city’s debt in February, and hopes to have the job done by mid-October.

[Detroit Bankruptcy: Complete Coverage]

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