"Closing Bell" host Amanda Drury asked Mayor Bing what specifically he has done as mayor to avoid bankruptcy.
Bing shirked any personal responsibility, stating structural issues with emigration and recent precipitous drops in revenue left him helpless to steer the city away from what is now the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history:
SCOTT WAPNER: Mayor Bing, you are an NBA hall of famer. You have been a very successful businessman in this country, and I'm sure this is not one of the things you wanted on your resume, presiding over the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. How did we get here?
DAVE BING: I think if you go back 50 or 60 years, quite frankly, is when the process started. It started without migration of our citizens. I mean, we were almost 2 million people back in 1950, and today, we're about 700,000 people. So you lost all of those people, and most of them were middle-income people with families. And a lot of the revenue that we needed to run our city was outsourced to our suburbs, so that was the beginning of it, and we haven't rebounded from that yet.
AMANDA DRURY: Mayor Bing, what did you personally do to try to avert bankruptcy? What were some of the steps that you were taking?
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DAVE BING: Well, the things that we couldn't do — the balance sheet was so out of balance, with somewhere between $18 billion to $20 billion overhanging debt. There was not a lot that we could do. Our revenue had dropped precipitously, and without the revenue, there was no way that we could provide the kind of services that our citizens needed, demanded and deserved. So you had to wind up over a 50, 60-year period "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul." And now, it's come to a day when you can no longer do that.
The Detroit mayor also said that outstanding debt with banks and creditors would be addressed before any cuts to union pensions would be implemented.