Finish line to get Detroit out of bankruptcy near?

'Grand Bargain' heads to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

LANSING, Mich. - What happened in Lansing on Tuesday is nothing short of a political miracle. When Detroit first lapsed into emergency management, the hard line from Lansing was no state money was coming to bail the city out.

However, lawmakers have passed the so-called "Grand Bargain" -- $195 million to backfill pensions and protect art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

This was a huge hurdle but not the last one.

The finish line to get Detroit out of bankruptcy is near. Getting the deal done in the Capitol took major maneuvering on the part of Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was shuttling up and down I-96 to push it through.

"We reached the right balance, there's money to support the pensions," said Duggan.

Now it's up to the retirees who've been given ballots to vote on Detroit's bankruptcy plan. So far, Orr said those votes have been coming in at 2-to-1 in favor.

"We have two big hurdles to go through, yet we have turned our attention to those," Orr said.

Snyder released the following statement Tuesday:

"People around the world know of our largest city's proud past as well as the struggles of its difficult but necessary bankruptcy. May this proposed settlement now cast Detroit forever as an example of a community and a state pulling together and making tough decisions to create a brighter future.

"Today we saw lawmakers from across the state stepping up to approve legislation that helps Detroiters – and all Michiganders. This settlement plan will allow Detroit to build a solid fiscal foundation for its continuing comeback. The bipartisan package shows the commitment of our partners in the Legislature to assist Detroit pensioners, ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars and improve the quality of life for the city's 700,000 residents.

"Many people worked hard to make this happen. I appreciate the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, House Speaker Jase Bolger, Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, state Rep. John Walsh and state Rep. Thomas Stallworth III, as well as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. I also thank U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen and the mediation team for guiding the mediation process."

Special section: Detroit bankruptcy

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