Bills Pending Propose $195M State Lump Sum Payment To Detroit
LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Pending legislation will ask Michigan taxpayers to contribute a nearly $195 million lump-sum payment from the state’s rainy day fund to bankrupt Detroit to bolster pension funds and prevent the sale of city-owned art.
Republican Rep. John Walsh of Livonia says a 10-bill package coming Thursday also will create an oversight committee to review Detroit’s budgeting and spending for 20 years. The seven-member committee will include appointees of the governor, state treasurer, legislative leaders and Detroit mayor.
The legislation also will provide for a separate investment committee to oversee Detroit pension funds. The intent is to pattern Detroit’s oversight after the long-term oversight of New York City after its financial crisis in the 1970s.
Walsh says he’ll hold two to four committee hearings on the legislation starting next week.
“They’re not gonna vote on that today because the governor simply does not have the votes,” reported WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick, Thursday afternoon.
“[Detroit Emergency Manager] Kevyn Orr is in the governor’s office right now, calling in individual lawmakers, trying to explain why they need to vote yes,” Skubick said. “Some of them are not there yet as they continue to study this package.”
Skubick says one possible wrinkle has emerged: In the 10-bill package there was not language from House Speaker Jase Bolger ordering Detroit’s unions to pony up some money in order to get the state aid — and that is something some in the GOP say they want.
While Gov. Snyder isn’t demanding that, it’s rumored that could be added to the legislation.
Meantime, a new poll out Thursday shows 66 percent of Michigan voters back Snyder’s plan to use state money to help Detroit. [More on that HERE]. As part of the deal, the state money will be matched by donations from private foundation.
Detroit hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in October of this year.
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