Duggan: "We got enough" in grand bargain bills

May 24, 2014

Mike Duggan
Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he “completely supports” the Detroit aid package being debated in Lansing, despite the conditions attached to it.

The 11-bill package would put $195 million in state funds toward the $816 million “grand bargain:” a deal to smooth Detroit’s trip through bankruptcy by minimizing cuts to retiree pensions, and shielding the Detroit Institute of Arts’ assets from city creditors.

The state aid comes with strings attached, though. The big one is a 9-member Financial Review Commission that would monitor the city’s finances for up to 13 years post-bankruptcy.

But Duggan said that if the city can balance its budget, pay its bills, and maintain access to credit markets for 3 years, the commission would largely go dormant.

“I thought that was fair,” Duggan said this week. “We’ll be able to go into a non-control period, where we’ll return self-determination…and we’ll keep self-determination as long as we balance the budget.”

Duggan said the arrangement is similar to the control board that monitored New York City’s finances for decades, after the city nearly went bankrupt in the 1970s.

Legislators have fast-tracked the grand bargain bills. Detroit’s bankruptcy restructuring plan hinges on it, and the city has set an aggressive pace to try and exit bankruptcy in the fall.

The bills passed the State House by a wide margin Thursday, and Duggan thinks that bipartisan support will carry through to the Senate.

“I think you’re going to see roughly the same number of Republicans and Democrats support this,” Duggan said. “I think we’re going to work it out.”

Lawmakers still need to hash out some key details of the legislation. Governor Snyder supports the grand bargain, and is urging the Senate to act fast.

“They made the changes that we asked,” Duggan said of the House bills. “We didn’t get everything I wanted, but we got enough.”