LANSING, Mich. (June 3, 3014) – Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s ready to sign off on an aid package for the city of Detroit as it makes its way through bankruptcy.
Lawmakers reached a ‘grand bargain’ that provides aid to pensioners and allows for oversight of the Motor City’s finances.
A nine-bill package, providing nearly $195 million in funds, cleared the Senate Tuesday with bipartisan support.
The money will be added to a pool of private support worth nearly $500 million.
“This is the best we’re going to be able to do,” said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe). “It’s not for the city of Detroit. This money goes directly to the people who earned those pensions.”
For lawmakers outside of Detroit, agreeing to the aid package was a balancing act.
“Your initial reaction is you don’t want to help Detroit,” said Senator Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell). “There were criminal activity that went on, and embezzlement and corruption.”
But choices were limited.
“I looked at all the options,”Hildenbrand said. “The alternative is the pensions of people in the State of Michigan are guaranteed under the Constitution. If we didn’t agree to this settlement, the alternative would be years and years of legal battles that ultimately could’ve resulted in a $3.5 billion price tag for the taxpayers of Michigan.”
Despite today’s ‘success,’ the work is far from over.
“We shouldn’t forget that there’s important work to be done in terms of the vote of the creditors, the retirees and the active members, in particular,” said Snyder. “And, let me say this: I clearly encourage everyone to vote ‘yes.’”
In addition to those votes, there’s also the issue of the confirmation trial itself.
Later this summer or early in the fall, lawmakers expect to be dealing with related legislation.
Reaction to Tuesday’s deal came in from across the state, including U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land.
“I applaud Gov. Snyder, Mayor Duggan, Emergency Manager Orr, and the Michigan State Legislature for working together and crafting a bipartisan plan to make Detroit the Comeback City,” said Land. “Detroit is central to our state. As Detroit goes, so goes Michigan. As U.S. Senator, I will work with anyone to continue Detroit’s success, and I look forward to the future. It is unfortunate that Congressman Peters was too concerned with playing politics to realize the potential of our workers and our city.”
Business Leaders for Michigan also supported the deal.
“This package will help continue the momentum, progress and cooperation building in Detroit by helping the city get through the largest municipal bankruptcy in history in sound fiscal condition,” said Doug Rothwell, President & CEO of BLM. “Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and Senator Gretchen Whitmer provided tremendous leadership in securing passage of this important legislation. ”