Michigan House approving Detroit bankruptcy bills
The Michigan House has approved Detroit bankruptcy legislation that commits $195 million in state money to prevent deeper cuts in retiree pensions and the sale of city-owned art.
The House voted 74-36 Thursday to spend money to match contributions from foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Eleven bankruptcy-related bills cleared the Republican-led chamber and go to the Senate.
One bill puts Detroit's finances under the oversight of a state-led commission for at least 13 years. The board could go dormant sooner if the city has balanced budgets.
Republican Rep. Al Pscholka of Stevensville says it's better to settle the bankruptcy rather than potentially leave Michigan liable for billions in pension debt. But Democratic Rep. David Nathan of Detroit says he fears Michigan's "takeover" of Detroit could go on forever.
Gov. Rick Snyder released the following statement after the votes:
"Today we saw lawmakers from across the state coming together to help make a brighter future for Detroit - and all of Michigan. I thank state House of Representative members for their bipartisan work on a settlement that will help Detroit pensioners and ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars. This is a thoughtful plan that provides key safeguards protecting Michigan's taxpayers while helping resolve Detroit's long-standing challenges.
"I especially appreciate the leadership of Speaker Jase Bolger, House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, Rep. John Walsh, and Rep. Thomas Stallworth III. I'm looking forward to consideration of the package in our state Senate.
"This settlement will allow us to more quickly resolve the bankruptcy issues, and create a solid, sustainable fiscal foundation to support Detroit's continuing turnaround. This is essential for the city's 700,000 residents, who are seeing improved vital services and quality of life. But these efforts are about helping all of our state. Detroit is an important part of Michigan's identity. Let the city's resurgence show the world that Michiganders are standing together and growing stronger as we accelerate our continuing comeback."