After becoming the largest city to file for bankruptcy, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing (D) said his city will bounce back and that many other urban cities are facing similar woes. Additionally, the mayor left open the possibility of a federal bailout.
“Were not the only city that’s going to struggle through what were going through,” Bing said. “There are over one hundred major urban cities that are having the problems that we’re having. We may be one of the first, we are the largest, but we absolutely will not be the last.”
Bing’s comments came during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” There are presently no plans for a federal bailout, and the White House’s current tactic has been described as a “wait-and-see” approach.
As CBS’ Bob Schieffer reported, “It had been expected, but it still came as a shock. … Once a city of 2 million people, Detroit’s population has plummeted to 700,000. It takes an hour for police to respond to calls, almost half the city’s schools have closed in the last three years.”
“Detroit hasn’t had a positive fund balance since 2004, in its general fund … this isn’t a recent occurrence,” Gov. Rick Snyder (R., Mich.) said on “Face the Nation.” “Enough is enough,” Snyder emphasized, “there are great things going on in Detroit outside of city government. So I’d view this [bankruptcy filing] as removing the last major negative obstacle.”
“I think it’s very difficult right now to ask directly for [federal] support,” Bing said. When asked if there was a coming bailout, Bing noted “not yet,” but he did not rule out seeking federal assistance.
“I’m not sure exactly what to ask for,” Bing added. “I mean money is going to help, no doubt about that, but how much? I mean there are a lot of things. We have to have an organized plan so we know that whatever we get, is going to be invested where we can maximize the return on the investment.”
For his part, Snyder noted he did not believe Detroit would receive a federal bailout, adding that he did not “expect one.”
“I’ve said before, the state cannot bailout the city of Detroit,” Snyder added. “It’s not about just putting more money in a situation; it’s about better services for citizens again. It’s about accountable government.”
“What we’re doing at the state level, and I would ask the federal government the same thing, is let’s come out with targeted programs where we can see there’s real value to citizens for improvement.”
Snyder maintained he did not see the value in seeking federal aid.
“I don’t view that as the right answer. Bankruptcy is there to help deal with the debt question. The more important question is better services to the citizens,” Snyder said. “Think about … the young girl walking to school in October worrying about the blighted structures, wondering is it safe? That’s the situation we have to focus on.”
Detroit is plagued with areas of “blighted structures.” In 2012, the city reportedly had 70,000 abandoned, or blighted, buildings.
In a New York Times column, Steven Rattner, who largely orchestrated the 2008 auto bailout, called on the government to aid Detroit, arguing that the situation was no different than providing aid to cities after a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy.
“Natural disasters and acts of God … you can’t plan for. Some of the situations that we’re in have been coming for sixty years, certainly more acutely in the past ten years, and everybody’s known it.” Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s Emergency Manager, told “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think Detroit has a responsibility to help itself,” Orr added.
A county judge in Michigan is challenging the bankruptcy filing, claiming that the filing is in violation of the Michigan constitution.