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Detroit Pensioners On The Clock To Approve ‘Grand Bargain’

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (left) and Detroit's emergency manager Kevin Orr (right) discuss Detroit's bankruptcy filing at a news conference July 19, 2013 in Detroit. (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (left) and Detroit’s emergency manager Kevin Orr (right) discuss Detroit’s bankruptcy filing at a news conference July 19, 2013 in Detroit. (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (WWJ) — More than 30,000 Detroit pensioners now have until July 11th to vote whether to accept tens of millions in state money to reduce city pension cuts.

It’s part of a massive plan aimed at getting the city out of bankruptcy. Governor Snyder was in Detroit on Friday to sign a major part of that plan — the so-called “Grand Bargain.”

“Improvements are starting to really go on in the neighborhoods, which is something that had been overlooked far too long — It’s exciting,” Snyder said. ” At the same time, we have retirees suffering through tough times and that’s why we get emotional to say here’s an opportunity to bring over $800 million to help cushion what is still a cut to people.”

Snyder said it was a historic milestone and an emotional day.

“This has been important to me from before the time that it I took office — it’s about saying how we can bring Detroit back,” Snyder said. “It’s really about all of the people who are involved in this — the 700,000 citizens of Detroit deserve better services.”

Retirees supporting the plan used the bill-signing ceremony to urge pensioners to vote yes on the deal. The city’s bankruptcy confirmation hearings begin August 14th and could last for five weeks.

Snyder signed legislation in Detroit Friday committing $195 million to help push the city through bankruptcy and protect pensions. 

An effort by deep-pocketed philanthropists to save the bankrupt city of Detroit’s art treasures began with a chance meeting last year and culminated Friday when Snyder signed the bill, known as the “Grand Bargain.”

The state’s contribution of $195 million, along with $366 million from foundations and a $100 million pledge from the Detroit Institute of Arts, would replace hundreds of millions being cut from retiree pensions, while stopping bond insurers and other creditors from forcing the sell-off of city-owned art such as Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait.” The money would come over 20 years, placing the value at about $816 million.

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