Policy: Economy

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Detroit bankruptcy: 'There are no other viable options'

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Beltway Confidential,Detroit,Ashe Schow,Economy,Analysis,Michigan,Detroit Bankruptcy

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder released a video statement on the news that the city of Detroit had filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, saying "there are no other viable options."

"This is a situation that was 60 years in the making in terms of the decline of Detroit," Snyder said. "From a financial point of view, let me be blunt: Detroit's broke."

Snyder also said that the decision was made due to the poor services being provided to the residents of Detroit. "They simply deserve better," he said. He noted that Detroit was on the top 10 list of most dangerous cities 24 out of the past 27 years. He also mentioned lengthy police response times and too few closed cases as evidence of poor services.

The governor said that filing for bankruptcy would be "an opportunity" for the city to revise its debts and improve services to citizens.

"For Michigan to be a great state again, it can only happen if Detroit's on the path to being a great city," Snyder said. "This is a critical step in making that happen."

Snyder still has to sign off on the filing, which will take 30 to 90 days to determine whether the city qualifies for Chapter 9 protection. The city is being sued by creditors and unions.

Unions, which have run up a $9.2 billion tab of unfunded pension and retiree health care benefits, are looking for a bailout from city officials, and are suing to protect those benefits from reductions.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who was appointed by Snyder, warned that if creditors and unions could not negotiate a settlement, he would seek bankruptcy as a final option.

Detroit is now the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, joining cities in California, Alabama and Rhode Island.

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