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If you seek a precarious predicament, look around you

by: Eric B.

Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:15:30 AM EST


An emergency financial report to Gov. Rick Snyder makes it clear that a six-person team poring over Detroit's financial records does not believe that Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council are capable of turning the city around on their own, two people familiar with the document told the Free Press on Saturday.

The report, which the state-appointed review team completed after meetings in Detroit on Friday, outlines monstrous debts and a chronic inability to reverse course, highlighted by infighting and disagreements between Bing and the council.

What a bloody mess. I'm sorry to inform you that even with the threat of a state takeover and drastic changes imposed, Detroit's political leadership still failed to get the job done.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work.

Eric B. :: If you seek a precarious predicament, look around you
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you need to understand
the multitude and layers of backstory. The state itself has culpability.

State Tax Policies Ruined Detroit
Michigan has made Detroit a high tax city and created other inequities in the politics of pleasing Republican rural and suburban constitutencies.  It halved  taxable value in the 1960s in institution of State Equalized Valuation.   Millages rose to compensate for this loss besides the leveying of income taxes. The city was also permitted to levy an income tax on residents and commuters.  So, Detroit was made into a high tax place to work, reside and own property.  Population losses and businesses left as a result of these long-term tax inequities.

So, now the state says Detroit needs an emergency financial takeover because its revenues can no longer meet its expenditure needs as the city became the haven for the poor as a consequence of structural state policies that emptied the city treasury, emptied its neighborhoods and put it in a perpetual state of decline.  Yet, the public image is that Detroit is the blame for its own problems which is promoted by well-meaning journalists like Jack Lessenberry whose near-sightedness on policies and politics makes them focus only on the current situation and not the history of how Detroit got into its current mess.

An overhaul of municipal finance is needed in Michigan to resolve the problems that ruined Detroit and threatens the finances of other Michigan cities.  But the politics is to blame Detroit for its ruin.

It is no small wonder that Detroiters believe the system is rigged against their city and that the politics of race and poverty dominate current policy deliberations on the future of Detroit in Lansing.

Detroit lowered its taxes, as was agreed to with the state, but did not receive the reciprocity promised through revenue sharing. Hence the "crazy" assertions by Watson and Kenyatta that the state owes the city money. It isn't all that crazy in theory, it's only crazy to think that the GOP would do something to help Detroit.

The comment above that I'm replying to is obviously from somebody who knows more than the average Michigander about Detroit. Not just because his facts are right, but because he recognizes the idiocy of Jack Lessenberry (not to mention, Finley, Henderson and almost all the main city hall reporters at both papers). But their idiocy, as I call it, is probably more a strict carrying of water for corporate interests in SE Mich than it is a lack of IQ.

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