Fiscal emergencies in Michigan

In 2010, Governor Snyder of Michigan signed an emergency manager law that has resulted in the takeovers of four Michigan cities and the Detroit Public School District. The state has also taken preliminary steps in the process of declaring fiscal emergency in the city of Detroit. There is an important backstory and politics to the unfolding of emergency takeovers in Michigan, but here’s the latest news:

Emergency manager law being revamped

Detroit Free Press, Dec. 9, 2011

LANSING — Top state officials acknowledged Thursday that they are working on a plan to rewrite the emergency manager law and dodge a union-inspired push to get the law suspended.

The law, Public Act 4 of 2011, is under attack by a group that says it is close to turning in petitions to force a public vote on the law. Once a sufficient number of signatures is certified, the law would be suspended. But passing a replacement law would make the petition drive moot.

And the state’s Treasurer comments on the looming state takeover in Detroit:

LANSING — The state may have waited too long to intervene in Detroit’s financial crisis and will try to expedite a financial review that began this week, Treasurer Andy Dillon said Thursday.

“It wasn’t our goal to do it without an invitation,” Dillon said of the preliminary review he ordered of Detroit’s books.

State officials spent months working with Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council, seeking a cooperative approach, but an invitation for the state to examine the city’s books never came.

“In some ways, maybe we were too patient,” Dillon told the Free Press.

Dillon says he hopes that both Chapter 9 bankruptcy and state takeover can be avoided; the possibility of bankruptcy has not been emphasized in previous articles.

More to come on the groups organizing to repeal the emergency manager law, and the state examination of Detroit’s finances that is already underway.