When it comes to Detroit pension cuts, things could get ugly - KMSP-TV

Tim Skubick: When it comes to Detroit pension cuts, things could get ugly

Posted: Updated:
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Take this to the bank boys and girls, this could get ugly.

Gov. Rick Snyder was given points for embracing $350 million in state aid to help soften the impact on pension cuts for retirees in the Detroit bankruptcy case.  Suggesting it was the easy part.

The governor doesn't have the votes yet to do it and the price for getting them, as far as Detroit lawmakers are concerned, could be problematic. At least one of them says attaching strings to the aid may force him to vote no.

Senate GOP leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) reports his caucus will not cough up any yes votes until and unless there is some "accountability." The GOP wants iron-clad assurances the money is not wasted and mismanaged which is what got the city into its current financial rat's nest in the first place, he reasons.

But up until now there was no indication as to what form those accountability strings would take.

Try this on for size: "A third-party sign-off" committee. This possible state appointed over-sight panel would not only monitor the state aid but could veto any new contracts the city mayor and council might develop once Motown is out of chapter 9.

Rep. David Nathan (D-Detroit) knew nothing about this the other day when he reacted in general terms to this mandatory strings requirement coming from the GOP.

First of all he took offense to the governor's recent comments that outside experts would be needed to monitor the state spending in Detroit.  The Democratic lawmaker called it "condescending and ridiculous" to make the suggestion when there are plenty of Detroit financial experts who can do the work.

But it's unlikely the GOP is going to back peddle from any form of "checks and balances" as one inside source described.  

But here's the rub for Detroit lawmakers.  They already have an un-elected Emergency Manager running the city and the critics say that has  eliminated the democracy there.

If after the EM is gone and the state imposes another un-elected oversight committee with veto power over local decisions, the same criticism will be raised again and who knows what form of expression that will take?

But here's the current lay of the land: No strings.  No money.

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