The State’s $350 Million: “Why I will vote against it”

The State’s $350 Million: “Why I will vote against it”

“Detroit already receives special treatment from Lansing,” writes state Rep. Greg McMaster (R-Kewadin) in an opinion piece published in today’s Detroit News explaining why he’ll vote against Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed $350 million (over 20 years) for Detroit’s bankruptcy restructuring.

The $350 million commitment is part of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s proposed Plan of Adjustment and one of the elements of the “grand bargain”: the $815 million deal that puts money from the state, private foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts toward funding pensions in exchange for protecting the museum’s art collection from sale.

McMaster writes that he considers the $350 million “unfair” to local taxpayers and other local governments. He also says it “creates a troubling precedent.”

Far from the claim that the state has been neglecting Detroit, the state has been propping up Detroit for years. And what have Michigan taxpayers received for their generosity? Epic corruption and fiscal mismanagement.

I want Detroit to be successful. And I believe the city has turned a corner.

But northern Michigan has needs too. Our taxpayers can no longer be the state’s piggy bank. And until the state returns its $971 million surplus to taxpayers, reduces the size of government and distributes state funding more fairly, I cannot support this $350 million bailout of Detroit.

Will McMaster’s opinion prevail in the legislature as out-state politicians reflect his view? Or will the Governor successfully lobby for the city? With a vote expected before summer, Detroit will know in the next few months.