LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan lawmakers have begun taking steps to reflect Detroit’s declining population in state law.

A bill passed 56-53 in the House on Wednesday could allow Detroit to continue its 2.5 percent city income tax rate for resident individuals, a rate that’s higher than allowed in other Michigan cities. Just enough Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill to move it along to the Senate.

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Census statistics show that Detroit’s population fell from 951,270 in 2000 to 713,777 last year. The decline puts the Motor City in danger of losing allowances in state law reserved for cities with a population above 750,000.

That threshold applies only to Detroit, the state’s largest city. The bill approved Wednesday would lower the population threshold to 600,000 so Detroit still qualifies for the tax provision.

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WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will no doubt be pleased with these developments.

“This is legislation that the Mayor said he needs in order to keep the city out of bankruptcy and away from am Emergency Financial Manager, and the Michigan House has agreed with the Mayor by sending those two bills now to the State Senate,” Skubick said.

The Senate is expected to take up the issue next week.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.