The Herald Bulletin

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July 21, 2013

Michigan governor front, center in Detroit bankruptcy



Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, a Democrat who lost to Snyder in the 2010 election, said Snyder "definitely" deserves credit if Detroit emerges in better shape, especially in providing everyday services.

"It's bold and decisive. You've got to give him credit, however late," Bernero said, adding that Snyder should have intervened in Detroit within three months of taking office in 2011.

"There was a sense of inevitability about this bankruptcy," Bernero said. "I would have moved quicker with an emergency manager. The ship couldn't right itself. Why prolong the agony? Lance the boil and move on."

Snyder first struck a consent agreement in April 2012 with the Democratic-led city to wipe out its enormous budget deficit and mountainous debt but appointed Kevyn Orr as emergency manager after that didn't work.

Steven Rattner, who was chief adviser to President Barack Obama's auto bailout task force, said from his detached vantage point in New York, Snyder "has handled this thing quite well."

While acknowledging the political difficulties associated with anything viewed as a bailout, Rattner questioned why the state and possibly the federal government aren't offering Detroit a rescue package.

"It's not logical for there to be political fallout from putting Detroit in bankruptcy because there's no other alternative to that," Rattner said. "The question people can ask is whether Snyder is offering all the help the state of Michigan can offer. ... These are tough politics either way."

There seems little appetite from either Democrats or Republicans in Washington for a federal rescue of Detroit. Bailing out the city with state money could bring resistance in the Republican-led Legislature and prompt anger from out-state residents concerned about funding their own schools and local services.

"There are so many great things going on in Detroit. We resolve the city government issue, Detroit's really well poised to see outstanding growth take place when people can say there are better services," Snyder said. "We're going to get there."

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