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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

So Much for the Good News

   Well that didn't take long.  The after glow of Michigan being ranked number two in the nation on economic health, lasted less than 24 hours as the Mayor of Detroit went public with the bad news that his city might be headed for bankruptcy and an Emergency Manager might be required to avert that.
    Put the champagne back in the bottle.
    The last thing Gov.  Rick Snyder wants is his largest city swimming in red ink.  The national headlines and the predictable jokes from the late-night comedians would be so counter to the governor's goal of turning Detroit around.
    Yet the mayor was telling the media there is a $150 million gap in the budget and the city could run out of money by February.  So will the governor step in?
     Take this to the bank.  The governor will not unilaterally pull the trigger on an EM unless the Mayor pulls it first.  Under the new law, Mayor Bing must file a request with the state treasurer for a review of the books.  Andy Dillon is no stranger to the financial challenges in Motown.  After his review, then the decision on the need for an EM would be rendered by the governor.
     In the meantime, the president of the city council says there is no need for an outsider, even if it is Mayor Bing himself, to run the city.
     What's really going on here is pretty clear.  The mayor is rattling his saber and hoping all of his unions hear it.  So far he's been unable to secure enough union concessions to help balance the books.  An EM could do that with a stroke of a pen which is why labor unions are trying to block this new law with a petition drive and a possibile vote of the entire state.
     Perhaps the mayor figures if I threaten all this, the unions will give me what I want.
     Either way all this back and forth only underscores how fragile Michigan's economic situation is despite that glowing report from the Bloomberg News folks that the state is on the comeback trail.
     The trail will go over the cliff if the Detroit mess is not resolved one way or the other.


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