It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered – including dissolving the city.
“If we have to, that is one idea we have to look at. We really have to look at everything that is on the table,” Jones said. “Again, if this goes to federal bankruptcy, every employee down there will suffer, the city will suffer and the vultures will come in and take the jewels of Detroit and they will be gone.”
Local consultant Tom Watkins has proposed this in the past, but the idea has never played well among Detroiters.
In a live interview on WWJ Newsradio 950 Wednesday morning, Gov. Rick Snyder said he wouldn’t count anything out.
“Detroit needs to solve their problems, but they need support and we’ve been very supportive partners, I believe, in terms of offering different ideas and thoughts. And I just encourage them to work harder about working better together,” Snyder said.
Talking to Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton, Detroit’s ex-communications chief Karen Dumas said she would not support such a plan.
“No, I don’t think that dissolution is the solution for the city of Detroit; I don’t,” said Dumas. “I think people… with every step we get more and more fearful… and maybe at some point that’s going to make everybody wake up and realize that we need to stop playing politics and come up with a solution for progress. I don’t know at what point that’s going to happen. “
Detroit Political Consultant Skip Mongo said the answer to Detroit’s fiscal crisis will come with fresh faces in City Council chambers and the Mayor’s office.
“We move forward and we start looking for new leadership, and we don’t make the mistake that we made before – we certainty don’t look around and outsource the mayor’s office,” Mongo said.
Mongo, who believes Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was a poor choice to begin, said Bing doesn’t a chance if he opts to run for re-election.
“Anything short of a tidal wave and Mayor Bing getting out with his boots on, or doin’ a [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie, no – he can’t win,” Mongo said. ”I don’t think Mayor Bing could beat me and I’ve never run for anything in my life. Honestly, no. He should leave.”
Meantime, the Bing administration continues to battle with council members over a deal to handle the city’s reform plan.
Bing said the council’s rejection last week of a contract with law firm Miller Canfield means the city missed a deadline to draw down $10 million Detroit needs to stay afloat and endangers a $20 million release in December. Bing called it a huge setback for the financial recovery of Detroit, adding that unpaid furlough days are on the way for city workers if this isn’t worked out.
Roger Keats (R), a former Illinois state senator and Cook County Board president, is packing up and leaving the Land of Lincoln for good. The 62-year-old Keats was a good government reformer who helped clean up the rampant corruption in the Chicago-area courts uncovered by Operations Greylord and Gambat.
But now he’s throwing in the towel, and he and his wife are heading for Texas. “I am tired of subsidizing crooks,” Keats told the Wilmette Beacon.
In “Good Bye and Good Luck,” a letter to all the friends and political supporters he’s leaving behind after 60 years, Keats says he is leaving what he calls “the most corrupt big city… and most corrupt state in America” with “a heavy heart.”
“But enough is enough!” he writes. “The leaders of Illinois refuse to see we can’t continue going in the direction we are and expect people who have options to stay here.”
Indeed, Illinois has already lost a quarter of its population and will lose another seat in the next Congress.
And that’s not the only sign of serious, and possibly irreversible, decline.
“Illinois just sold still more bonds and our credit rating is so bad we pay higher interest rates than junk bonds! Junk Bonds!” Keats points out.
“Illinois is ranked 50th for fiscal policy; 47th in job creation; first in unfunded pension liabilities; second largest budget deficit; first in failing schools; first in bonded indebtedness; highest sales tax in the nation; most judges indicted; and five of our last nine elected governors have been indicted. That is more than the other 49 states added together!…
“We are moving to Texas where there is no income tax while Illinois’ just went up 67%. Texas’ sales tax is half of ours, which is the highest in the nation. Southern states are supportive of job producers, taxpayers and folks who offer opportunities to their residents. Illinois shakes them down for every penny that can be extorted from them.”
As a recent study by Americans for Tax Reform found, migration from high-tax states like Illinois to states with lower taxes and less government spending like Texas will dramatically alter the composition of future Congresses as more and more Americans, like the Keatses, vote with their feet.